Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday named a Berkeley policy consultant with a White House pedigree and several Bay Area business leaders to the board that advises him on expanding international trade and investment for California businesses.
Maria Echaveste, 60, of Berkeley – who also serves as policy and program development director at the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy – will be vice chair of the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council. President Obama nominated Echaveste last September to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, but facing stiff opposition in the Senate, she withdrew her nomination in January.
Echaveste works as a public policy consultant focused on issues including immigration, civic engagement, U.S.-Mexico relations and food policy. She was assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001; assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 1997 to 1998; and administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division from 1993 to 1997.
“I am honored to have Maria Echaveste join me as vice chair of this critically important council,” former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis, whom Brown named the council’s chair in 2014, said in a news release Friday. “This dynamic group of individuals brings a wealth of experience in international affairs and business development and we are ready to help the Governor and GO-Biz continue to strengthen California’s position in the global economy.”
The council advises the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), helping GO-Biz identify foreign markets with the greatest potential for export expansion and develop specific export strategies for those markets – including the state’s top trading partners, Canada, Mexico and China, and emerging markets such as Brazil and India. The council will hold its first meeting next month in Sacramento. (Did anyone but me notice that the actual acronym for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development would be GO-BED?)
Among a dozen other appointees named Friday was Jeff Bleich, 54, of Piedmont, an attorney at Munger, Tolles and Olson who was special counsel to President Obama for a few months in 2009 before serving four years as the U.S. ambassador to Australia. He served as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence from 1998 to 1999 and is a past chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and past president of the California State Bar.
Brown also appointed Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino, 53, of Monte Sereno. Guardino has been the tech region police advocacy group’s chief executive since 1997, and was its vice president from 1991 to 1995; he was director of government affairs at Hewlett-Packard from 1995 to 1997 and district director for Assemblyman Rusty Areias from 1984 to 1990.
Also appointed was Anja Manuel, 40, of San Francisco, a cofounder and partner – along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – at RiceHadleyGates LLC, a strategic consulting firm. Manuel, also a lecturer in Stanford University’s International Policy Studies program, was special assistant to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns from 2005 to 2007, and was an international litigation attorney at WilmerHale from 2001 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009.
And Brown appointed Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, 57, of Pleasant Hill. Wunderman has led the regional business organization since 2004; earlier, he was senior vice president for external affairs at Providian Financial Corporation from 1997 to 2004; chief of staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan from 1992 to 1995; and special assistant to then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein from 1983 to 1987.
These appointments don’t require Senate confirmation and come with a $100 per diem.