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Jack Lew's Deputy May Be the Most Important Person at Treasury

By Albert R. Hunt
January 09, 2013 11:19 AM EST

When White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is named Treasury secretary tomorrow, high-powered financial types say the selection of his deputy secretary will be crucial.

President Barack Obama has been advised that it's important to name someone with expertise in global financial markets, an area where Lew has limited experience. The most oft-mentioned possibility  is David Lipton, currently the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Earlier in his career, Lipton worked at the White House and at Treasury and is knowledgeable about global economic issues.

However, with Obama facing criticism for a lack of high-level female appointments, there is pressure to promote Lael Brainard, the current undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs, to the no. 2 slot. Her prime expertise is trade.

There is concern that the deteriorating European economic situation will mean that the Treasury will be dealing with global crises, along with domestic fiscal and debt issues.

(Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)

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