Report: Whirlpool CEO on Trump’s ‘Manufacturing Council’

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — Donald Trump’s White House administration revealed the full membership of its manufacturing council this week.

The council has 28 business leaders, including Whirlpool Corp. President and CEO Jeff Fettig.

Whirlpool spokeswoman Juliet Johnson confirmed Fettig’s involvement with the more than two dozen CEOs, whom Trump has chosen to help create recommendations to grow the American manufacturing sector.

“I can confirm that Jeff Fettig has a role specifically with the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative,” Johnson said in an email. “In that capacity, he will be providing input and advice to the president and his administration on ways to strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness to create jobs in the U.S.”

Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris was assigned to lead what’s being called the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, along with support from Elon Musk – making this the second Trump administration advisory group that the Tesla CEO belongs to, including the Strategic and Policy Forum, which advises on economic matters.

Musk isn’t the only tech executive on the manufacturing council, however.

Other members include Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell, and Ford CEO Michael Fields.

Dennis Muilenburg from Boeing, Wendell Weeks from Corning, Jeff Immelt from General Electric and Marillyn Hewson from Lockheed Martin are also council members.

The group convenes at a time when Trump pledged to cut corporate taxes while also taxing companies that outsource manufacturing jobs.

News of Fettig’s involvement comes after he and other business leaders first met with Trump on Jan. 23, a few days after the president was sworn in.

At the January meeting, Trump promised to wipe out at least 75 percent of government regulations that he alleges hinder businesses, fast-track plans to open factories and cut taxes. However, Trump also threatened to impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that move production out of the country.

Whirlpool has shown an interest in finding an edge over foreign competitors. The Benton Harbor-based company celebrated an anti-dumping ruling that was made against LG and Samsung in January.

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled the two companies caused injury to the U.S. appliance industry by selling China-produced washing machines in the U.S. for less than they cost to make.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 4, 2017)

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