Adebayo Ogunlesi, the Nigerian-born businessman, has been removed as an economic adviser to controversial United State president, Donald Trump.
Mr. Ogunlesi, an executive at U.S. Equity firm, Goldman Sachs, was appointed a member of Mr. Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum last December alongside other top business executives such as Elon Musk, the founder of automobile firm, Tesla, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo.
Mr. Ogunlesi was removed from his position after Mr. Trump dissolved the advisory council alongside a sister forum known as the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative on Wednesday.
“Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council and Strategic and Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”, Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
The dissolution was a pre-emptive move by the embattled president as members of the two council were already debating their continued membership in the wake of the outrage that has trailed Mr Trump for equating white supremacists hate groups with protesters opposing them.
Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group and one of Mr. Trumps closest confidants in the business community, had initiated a conference call of members of the Strategic and Policy Forum. After the call, the New York Times reported that a dozen prominent C.E.O.s agreed to leave the council.
“Corporate leaders had hoped that President Trump would help businesses by slashing taxes and gutting regulations. It is not clear how much he will deliver on that score.
“On top of that, he is putting many chief executives in the position of answering for a president with an unparalleled track record of outraging people, most recently at a contentious press conference on Tuesday when he drew a false equivalence between the white supremacists who protested in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend and counter-protesters,” the newspaper reported.
After Mr Trump’s much criticised original response to the protest, Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of drug manufacturer, Merck, on Tuesday resigned from the Manufacturing council. His resignation was followed by two others – Brian Krzanich of Intel and Kevin Plank of sportswear manufacturer, Under Armour.
The advisory councils are ceremonial forums meant to connect the business community with the White House.