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Obama taps Silicon Valley bigwigs for economic advisory board

Oracle prez, famed VC get nod

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President Obama tapped two Silicon Valley notables today as members of his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

The 15-member board is charged with advising Obama on decisions about the US economy and announced to spur Congress into passing legislation for his $700bn+ stimulus spending package.

Obama said he created a panel of outside advisers to enlist voices from "beyond the Washington echo chamber."

Among his picks is Charles Phillips, president of Oracle and John Doerr, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who serves on the boards of Google, Amazon, and Symantec.

"We will meet regularly so that I can hear different ideas and sharpen my own, and seek counsel that is candid and informed by the wider world."

The board is headed by Paul Volcker, the former US Federal Reserve chairman and one of Obama's top economic advisers.

"We're also going to count on these men and women to serve as additional eyes and ears for me as we work to reverse this downturn," said Obama. "Many of them have a ground-level view of the changes that are taking place."

Phillips became president of Oracle in May 2003 and was previously with (the then-investment bank and now-bank holding company), Morgan Stanley.

Doerr is a venture capitalist who's backed quite a few big names of Silicon Valley in their early years. Like Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Intuit, Netscape, and Amazon. He's also been a major advocate for carbon trading and green tech causes.

Other names on the board include Martin Feldstein, professor of economics at Harvard University; Jeffery Immelt, CEO of General Electric; and Robert Wolf, CEO of investment bank UBS Group Americas.

In his press conference today, Obama cited a US Labor Department report that the US lost 598,000 jobs in January, saying delays from Congress in passing the stimulus package is "inexcusable and irresponsible."

Apparently it worked, as CNN reports a tentative agreement for the stimulus package has been reached. A vote on the bill is expected sometime Friday night. ®

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