Chief economist to leave State Department
A major vestige of Hillary Clinton‘s reign at the State Department is heading for the exits, The Cable has learned. Heidi Crebo-Rediker, the chief economist at the State Department will be leaving her position by the end of July, according to a State Department source. The job, an assistant secretary-level position, was created by Clinton ...
A major vestige of Hillary Clinton's reign at the State Department is heading for the exits, The Cable has learned.
Heidi Crebo-Rediker, the chief economist at the State Department will be leaving her position by the end of July, according to a State Department source.
The job, an assistant secretary-level position, was created by Clinton as a centerpiece of her “economic statecraft” strategy, an initiative immortalized by Clinton’s countless overseas trips aimed at winning business contracts for U.S. companies.
Part of the brick-and-mortar aspect of this initiative manifested itself in Crebo-Rediker’s Office of the Chief Economist, a first of its kind shop filled with experts in microeconomic, macroeconomic, and financial experience.”We operate in both the economic and foreign-policy realms, connecting the dots when economic issues influence our diplomacy and vice versa,” said Crebo-Rediker, describing her office in the pages of Foreign Policy last October. “We also provide a strategic view of long-term economic drivers of political change and frame recommendations to the secretary through that prism.”
The Clinton initiative resulted in the State Department often taking on a similar role to the Department of Commerce in promoting U.S. business interests. (As an incentive, the once lowly duty of acting as a liaison to business interests for State became grounds for a promotion for embassy economic officers in the Clinton era.)
In practice, for Crebo-Rediker, that meant she worked on various training programs inside and outside of the State Department that had the capacity of bolstering commercial diplomacy (examples include the Foreign Service Institute and divisions in the Treasury Department). She also worked on issues ranging from economic development in the Middle East and North Africa to efforts to promote the role of women as a tool for economic growth to establishing the office as a permanent fixture in the U.S. policy apparatus.
A source at the State Department says Crebo-Rediker remains mum on where she’ll go next. The former investment banker worked on international economics at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for then-Sen. John Kerry immediately prior to her almost year and a half run at the State Department.
The future of the Office of the Chief Economist will rely heavily on Kerry’s enthusiasm for it.
“If the secretary is not personally committed to this, the things that State can do at the mid-levels of the bureaucracy are very few,” Edward Alden, a trade specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations told BusinessWeek in January.
John Hudson was a staff writer and reporter at Foreign Policy from 2013-2017.
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