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Kiwi businessman becomes Trump adviser

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/01/2017

New Zealand businessman Christopher Liddell will take up a powerful White House role, advising President-elect Donald Trump on strategic initiatives.

The 58-year-old was announced by Mr Trump on Wednesday as assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives.

The former Microsoft chief financial officer has been a special adviser on President appointments to Mr Trump during the transition period.

Mr Liddell's appointment was announced at the same time as Reed Cordish was named assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives.

"Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish have led large, complex companies in the private sector, and have played instrumental roles throughout the transition," Mr Trump said in a statement.

"Their skill sets are exactly what is needed to effect substantial change, including system-wide improvement to the performance of the government.

"I am delighted that they will be part of my executive team."

Mr Liddell said it was an honour to take on the role for the president-elect and the country.

His role will be to lead the new White House Strategic Development Group, a think tank responsible for turning around Mr Trump's priority projects.

Mr Liddell is currently the chairman of New Zealand cloud-based accounting software company Xero, the board of which says it is still considering whether his new role is compatible with his current position.

"We've only just officially heard the news ourselves so we're working out what that means for us and whether as board chair he will have to resign his directorship as per government policy," a spokeswoman told Businessdesk.

"Chris is working through his options, and when decided, the board will make a formal announcement."

Mr Liddell's resume also includes time as chief executive of Carter Holt Harvey, where he was formerly chief financial officer.

He has also held that role at International Paper, WME-IMG and General Motors, where he was also vice chairman.

Locally he has served as a director of New Zealand Rugby Union and as chairman of Next Foundation, one of the country's largest philanthropic organisations.

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