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Kiwi lands top job in Trump’s White House

A Kiwi businessman has scored a high-powered role in Donald Trump's administration.

A Kiwi businessman has scored a top job in Donald Trump’s White House administration.

Chris Liddell, who is the current Xero chairman and formally served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of General Motors (GM) and CFO of Microsoft, has been appointed as an assistant to the President and director of strategic initiatives, NZME reports.

The Auckland-born 58-year-old will lead a new White House Strategic Development Group – dubbed the “White House think tank” – which will work on Trump’s “priority projects”.

“[Lidell’s] skill set are exactly what is needed to effect substantial change, including system wide improvement to the performance of the government. I am delighted that [he] will be part of my executive team,” President-Elect Trump said in a statement.

“It is an honor to take on this role for the President-elect and the country,” Liddell said.

In April last year – seven months before the US election – Liddell, who previously worked on Mitt Romney”s 2012 Republican Presidential campaign, told NBR he was predicting a Trump win as far back as August 2015.

“Well, I’m actually going to claim to be a bit ahead of the curve on this one. I was saying last August that I thought he had a chance. I was saying a possibility, not a probability and of winning the whole thing, not just being the Republican nominee. You know, this is just like around the dinner table, talking politics, who do we think would win? I throw on the table I think Trump can win.”

The University of Auckland graduate and his wife, Renee Harbers (pictured above), are already based in New York.

As well as his high-profile business roles, Liddell, who was born in Matamata and attended Mt Albert Grammar School in Auckland, has been an active environmentalist, acting as chairman of Project Crimson, a conservation group, and is active in a number of environmental projects in New Zealand, such as the restoration of Rotoroa Island and the Abel Tasman National Park.

Liddell was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the 2015 New Year’s Honors for his services to business and philanthropy.

Trump has previously spoken about his doubts surrounding climate change.

The presidential inaugaration takes place in Washington on January 20.

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