Chris Liddell pulls out of running for OECD Secretary-General role - reports

Chris Liddell.
Chris Liddell. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealander Chris Liddell, a senior aide to outgoing US President Donald Trump, reportedly intends to withdraw his candidacy for the Secretary-General role of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a White House correspondent.

Liddell, who currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Trump administration, was nominated for the top role by the outgoing President last September.

Yet on Tuesday (local time), Bloomberg senior White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs claimed that Liddell had "told people" of his intention to pull out of consideration for the position.

"Scoop: Chris Liddell has told people he's pulling out of consideration for Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development," Jacobs revealed, alongside a press release from September announcing Trump's intent to nominate Liddell for Secretary-General of the OECD.

The Paris-based OECD, an intergovernmental economic organisation comprising 37 member countries, was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Jacobs reiterated in a second tweet that according to sources familiar with the matter, Liddell has told his associates that he's withdrawing from consideration to lead the organisation.

In her report for Bloomberg, Jacobs said the reason for Liddell's decision is not immediately clear. 

If Liddell does officially pull out of consideration for the Secretary-General role, the remaining seven candidates will be Cecilia Malmstrom of Sweden, William Morneau of Canada, Ulrik Knudsen of Denmark, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, Philipp Hildebrand of Switzerland, Mathias Cormann of Australia and Anna Diamantopoulou of Greece.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has yet to publicly announce whether she supports Liddell taking the top job. In a statement to the New Zealand Herald on Monday, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said Ardern "won't be commenting publicly on the OECD Secretary-General selection process". Yet in October last year, a representative said the Government had yet to make a decision regarding the candidate it would be supporting.

Following the violent riot at the US Capitol on January 6, it was revealed that Liddell, who has served in Trump's White House since 2017, was considering his resignation. However, he later confirmed that he had decided to remain in his role until the end of Trump's presidency, which will officially culminate on January 20 following the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.