Last week, the White House announced that President Trump is nominating Ray Washburne to head up the Overseas Private Investment Corporation or OPIC. Washburne’s nomination will require Senate confirmation. If successful, he will replace Elizabeth Littlefield, an Obama appointee, who has led the development finance institution for almost 8 years.
Washburne, who is a Texas-based investor and businessman, has longtime connections to the Republican Party, having served as the party’s national finance chairman as well as, more recently, being Vice Chair of the Trump Victory Committee and chairing the new administration’s transition commerce team once the President had been elected. He was also rumored to be in the running for a cabinet post.
His nomination is being interpreted by many that the future of the agency, which the Trump administration had indicated it wanted to be wound down, is now safer. The thinking is that the President would not appoint a supporter whom he had considered for a cabinet position to a post overseeing the dismantling of an agency. In an interview with D Magazine last week, Washburne described the role as fitting his skillsets “to a T” and that he would focus its efforts on helping American businesses create jobs.
“The Obama administration spent a lot of time on climate change-type stuff,” he was quoted as saying. “Ours will be more focused on economic development.”
In addition to being President & CEO of Charter Holdings, a private real estate investment company, Washburne is the co-founder and owner of M Crowd Restaurant Group which owns and operates a number of branded restaurant chains.