The Kiwi businessman likely to become Trump's top economic advisor

One of New Zealand's most successful businessmen is the frontrunner to become Donald Trump's economic advisor.

Former chairman of Xero Chris Liddell is set to take over the role after his predecessor stepped down over the President's stance on trade. 

Mr Liddell has been part of President Trump's inner circle since he entered the White House more than a year ago. 

As Director of Strategic Initiatives, the Kiwi's been tasked with handling some of the Commander-in-Chief's biggest election promises, including draining the Washington swamp of cumbersome bureaucracy. 

Unlike former advisor Gary Cohn, Mr Liddell seems to be on the same page as Mr Trump when it comes to trade.

After the 2016 election, Mr Liddell spoke to TVNZ's Q+A about the then President-elect's desire to get rid of what he calls "terrible trade deals". 

"I think the days of unbridled free trade and unbridled free markets are over," he said.  

"I've worked in the private sector all my life, so I'm a believer in free markets - but not unbridled free markets."  

This statement seemingly put him at odds with his previous business life. He started out as the boss of Carter Holt Harvey before moving to the US to become chief financial officer at Microsoft and General Motors.

He was a big fan of Mr Trump even before he was recruited by the administration. 

"[Trump] will bring a mixture of new people in, and he has a very big aspiration to change Washington," he told Q+A.

That's put Mr Liddell in the perfect position to get one of the White House's most influential jobs.