Minnesota Business Leaders Tapped for Trump’s ‘Economic Revival’ Groups
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump rolled out the list of business leaders who will help him strategize about reopening the economy. The full list includes 202 people from 16 industry groups plus a “thought leader” category.
The White House is officially touting the effort as the “Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups.” The list includes eight leaders from some of Minnesota’s biggest companies.
- Cargill Inc.: David MacLennan, Chairman and CEO
- U.S. Bancorp: Andy Cecere, Chairman, President and CEO
- 3M Co.: Mike Roman, Chairman and CEO
- UnitedHealth Group Inc.: David Wichmann, CEO
- Target Corp.: Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO
- Best Buy Co. Inc.: Hubert Joly, executive chairman and former CEO
- Life Time: Bahram Akradi, Chairman and CEO
- Grand Rapids State Bank: Noah Wilcox, President, CEO and Chairman
According to his schedule, Trump was slated to have a series of conference calls with small clusters of the industry groups on Wednesday morning and afternoon. It’s unclear exactly how the groups will work or what role they will play in determining federal policy.
Life Time spokeswoman Natalie Bushaw said that Akradi has already been participating in meetings and calls with Gov. Tim Walz about the crisis and was on a call last week with Vice President Mike Pence. She said that Akradi took part in a 9 a.m. conference call on Wednesday morning with the president.
“We need a balanced and clear, play-by-play, offensive and defensive strategy for each of the two battles,” said Akradi in a statement, referring to both the health and economic battles. “One that allows everyone to play their role, find clarity in the unknown, and quickly move forward.”
But several local companies were not in a big hurry to comment on being connected to the effort. A spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based retailer Target emailed this statement: “We can confirm that Target’s CEO Brian Cornell participated in the White House meeting today. Please contact the White House directly for additional details.”
The biggest surprise on the list is the inclusion of Wilcox who leads Grand Rapids State Bank, a community bank in northern Minnesota. Grand Rapids had a population of just under 11,000 people in the 2010 Census. Wilcox, who serves as chairman of Independent Community Bankers of America, is one of the group of nine banking industry representatives, including leaders from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley.
“Community banks will play a vital role in fostering economic revival as they continue to serve their customers and communities in rural, suburban, and urban America,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, president and CEO of ICBA, in a statement. “Noah will do an incredible job representing the nation’s nearly 5,000 community banks.”
Trump’s list is dominated by white male executives. Women comprise less than 10 percent of the list. In the case of Richfield-based electronics retailer, the White House bypassed current CEO Corrie Barry to select former CEO Hubert Joly, who left the corner office in 2019 after spearheading a successful turnaround for the company. Joly remains executive chairman of Best Buy but isn’t seeking reelection to the board and will step down in June.