Obama is appointing Antonio Weiss to be the U.S. Treasury Department’s top domestic finance official, according to a statement by the White House.
Weiss is the global head of investment banking at the merger-advisory firm Lazard, a firm which has been involved in tax-inversion deals, which occurs when US companies move their headquarters overseas to avoid having to pay American taxes.
The Obama administration has been working hard to try and tackle the issue.
Weiss, who holds a master’s of business administration degree from Harvard University, would help by stepping in and coordinating banking policies, capital markets, and debt financing regulation. He would also work on implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial law.
He will be replacing Mary Miller, who left in September. Matthew Rutherford, who used to be assistant secretary for financial markets, has assumed the role of acting undersecretary since Miller stepped down.
Lazard advised three recent inversions in the U.S., including Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s plan to acquire Tim Hortons Inc. and move their address to Canada.
In an interview with Bloomberg, H. Rodgin Cohen, senior chairman of New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, said:
“Why should a banker not work for any one of hundreds of companies that have one sort of tax break or another?”
“Inversions are just one. We have a tax code that is just riddled with loopholes and exceptions. So should you never work on any of those? Is there a purity test?”
Cohen told Bloomberg that Weiss is “extremely good with people and able to form consensus in a low-key way.”
His nomination was announced eight days following the midterm congressional elections.