Trump taps ex-Goldman partner for top Treasury job, billionaire Ross to head Commerce

Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign's finance director at Trump Tower, New York, US November 18, 2016 © Mike Segar
President-elect Donald Trump has picked former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary, the transition team confirmed. Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross was nominated to head the Department of Commerce.

The 53-years old financier with no government experience – but a broad background on Wall Street and in Hollywood – served as national finance chairman for Trump's presidential campaign.

He was picked from among some other high-profile candidates, including JPMorgan chairman Jamie Dimon and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Before starting his own hedge fund, called Dune Capital Management, in 2002, Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs. He also funded a film production company, bankrolling blockbusters like the X-Men franchise and Avatar.

Mnuchin reportedly earned about $40 million while working at Goldman.

The selection would still require Senate confirmation and marks the first major economic post filled by Trump.

If confirmed, Mnuchin would become the first person with Wall Street experience to lead the Treasury since Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs CEO who served under President George W. Bush. Paulson ran the Treasury during the turbulent initial stages of the financial crisis of 2008.

Trump campaigned on a promise to dismantle the banking regulations introduced by the Obama administration in 2010. The rules should be re-examined, according to Mnuchin.

“We're not taking a position on whether we support that or don't support it. We're saying a lot of things need to be looked at. We think Dodd-Frank needs to be looked at. Obviously, there is an important concern of protecting depositors,” Mnuchin said in a July interview with CNBC.

The financier has previously backed Hillary Clinton Senate campaign and Barack Obama's presidential run.

READ MORE: Trump pledges to dump Pacific trade deal on first day in office

Trump has confirmed on Wednesday that he offered the job of heading the Department of Commerce to 78-year-old billionaire Wilbur Ross. The chairman of WL Ross & Co is known for his investment in distressed industries. Ross advised the President-elect on economic policy during the campaign.

The billionaire investor has repeatedly criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Ross blamed NAFTA along with the entry of China into the World Trade Organization for causing massive US factory job losses.

“I think there’s a big difference between the impact of trade agreements on corporate America and the impact on Mr. and Mrs. America. Corporate America has adjusted to them by investing lots of capital offshore,” Ross said in an interview with CNBC earlier this year.