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Adeyemo, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in December 2020, was confirmed on Thursday after a unanimous vote.
The 39-year-old has struck a hardline tone on China, vowing to fight what he called Beijing’s ‘unfair economic practices’ while advocating that China be held accountable to international rules.
Adeyemo will play a key role in shaping U.S. economic policy on issues ranging from financial regulation to relief for everyday Americans, including U.S. sanctions on foreign governments.
His family emigrated from Nigeria to the US in the ’80s to pursue the famous ‘American dream.’ He obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
He also earned a law degree from Yale Law School. Apart from a private law practice which spans a few years, Adeyemo’s life has always revolved around politics.
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Popularly known as ‘Wally,’ he has spent most of his career convening companies, governments and organisations, until he got his first stint with Barack Obama government in 2009 after serving at the United States Department of the Treasury.
Adeyemo served as senior international economic adviser to former US president Barack Obama, responsible for coordinating the policymaking process related to international finance, trade and environmental issues.
He served as Obama’s representative to the G7 and G20 summits and was also chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s provisions on macroeconomic policy.
Adeyemo was appointed first chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) where he helped to protect US consumers from unfair or abusive consumer financial practices.
Treasury secretary Janet Yellen welcomed the Senate vote, calling Adeyemo ‘a master of shuttle economic diplomacy’ who would help boost U.S. economic and national security interests.
A former senior adviser at asset manager at BlackRock Inc and the child of Nigerian immigrants, Adeyemo served as a top national security and economic adviser to Obama and held senior jobs at the Treasury.
Yellen said Adeyemo was also ‘a tireless advocate for the working class’ who helped build the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
“Those values – and that managerial experience – will be a tremendous asset to Treasury now as we continue implementing the American Rescue Plan,” Yellen said.