Everett Eissenstat has an impressive resume. The 55-year-old Republican from Oklahoma has served as a legislative director for a congressman, as U.S. trade representative for the Americas under Obama, and most recently the Trump administration’s aid on economic trade. Under President Trump, Eissenstat held the positions of deputy assistant to the U.S. president on international economic affairs and deputy of the National Economic Council. Now, he’ll be adding senior vice president for global public policy at General Motors to that list. Eissenstat joins the company to serve under Mary Barra, GM’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Everett was a consummate professional and a valued member of the White House staff,” John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, said in a statement in June when the move was announced. “We will miss his deep expertise, commitment to duty, and skillful management of the National Economic and National Security Council’s international team.”
Eissenstat will be a welcome addition to the GM family. As Barra put it in the official GM statement regarding the hire, “[he has] “broad experience interacting at the highest levels of government, both within the U.S. and globally, and his track record for partnering and building relationships on both sides of the aisle make him a perfect fit to represent GM.”
He’ll need those negotiating skills as talks between the US, Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as shifting policies with the EU and Asia could potentially put a wrench in the automotive industry, GM included. Already GM has projected a dent in 2018 profits due to government-imposed tariffs, particularly those on imported steel and aluminium. Said GM spokeswoman, Dayna Hart, “He knows what’s happening there because he just came from the Trump administration.”
The position Eissenstat takes was formerly held by Craig Gilden, who was also–and will continue to serve as–GM’s Chief Legal Counsel. However, given the above changes in US policy, GM felt the time was right to make the job a full-time one. Hart explained, “This job has existed in different ways in the past, but there’s just so many things going on in public policy now — trade issues, tariffs, emissions standards and automated vehicle regulations — that we need someone to guide us.”
The company looks forward to taking advantage of Eissenstat’s knowledge and connections moving forward, and that his lobbying will help them navigate future political speedbumps.