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WME-IMG Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell Joins Donald Trump’s White House Team

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 James Rainey
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UPDATED: The Donald Trump White House has added another figure with major Hollywood ties, as the president-elect on Tuesday named WME-IMG chief financial officer Chris Liddell to oversee special projects.

Liddell, who joined the super-agency in 2014, will take the title of assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives. During the transition, Liddell has served as a special adviser on appointments.

Liddell will head up what will be known within the White House as the Strategic Development Group, which will focus on unnamed “priority projects.” It will also be his job to interface with “private sector forums. ”

Along with another appointee, Reed Cordish, the duo will oversee a series of “high impact task forces,” Trump’s announcement said.

Prior to joining WME-IMG, New Zealand-native Liddell had served as CFO of Microsoft, General Motors, and International Paper. Trump said in a statement that the executive and his fellow appointee “have led large, complex companies in the private sector, and have played instrumental roles throughout the transition.” He added: “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.”

Liddell said in a statement that it was “an honor to take on this role for the president-elect and the country.”

He had a previous stint in political work when he served as executive director of Mitt Romney’s transition planning team in 2012. He authored a book on presidential transitions, according to the announcement. Liddell holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Auckland, and a master’s in philosophy from Oxford University.

WME’s leadership had another, more fleeting, involvement with Trump. The firm’s Ari Emanuel visited a Trump golf course in New Jersey in November for an audience with the president-elect. Neither the super-agent nor the president would reveal what was said at that meeting.

In an internal email acknowledging the change, Emanuel and his co-CEO at WME – IMG, Patrick Whitesell, thanked Liddell for his service. They told employees that Jason Lublin  would take over as chief financial officer. Lublin previously served as CFO of the old Endeavor agency and has remained with the firm as it expanded, first to William Morris Endeavor, before adding IMG in 2013.

Others coming to the Trump White House with backgrounds in Hollywood are Treasury Secretary-designate Steve Mnuchin, a major film financier, and chief strategist Steven Bannon, who worked on multiple entertainment projects and owned a stake in the mega-hit TV series “Seinfeld.”

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