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GIP chairman brings infra perspective to Trump advisory

Adebayo ‘Bayo’ Ogunlesi’s role as GIP chairman and managing partner will provide the 16-member advisory council with knowledge of private-sector infrastructure investment.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Global Infrastructure Partners chairman Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi to join a group of executives advising on how government policy and the private sector can work together to boost the economy.

Ogunlesi joins the 16-member ‘President’s Strategic and Policy Forum,’ chaired by Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman, that will share private-sector experience and knowledge with Trump as he implements policies to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Other business leaders in the forum include BlackRock chairman Larry Fink, JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and former SEC commissioner and Patomak Global Partners chief executive Paul Atkins.

The forum’s debut meeting will be held the first week of February at the White House, with follow-on gatherings to be held frequently thereafter, according to a statement.

“This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth,” Trump said. “My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating and expanding right here in America.”

Ogunlesi could have a specific role in the forum as chairman and managing partner of GIP, one of the world’s largest infrastructure fund managers, considering Trump’s emphasis on infrastructure investment during the presidential campaign.

GIP manages around $35 billion for investors, according to its website. In October, a source told Infrastructure Investor that the firm was on pace to raise the largest infrastructure fund ever, with GIP III, its latest vehicle, set to gather between $15 billion and $16 billion. GIP declined to comment on fundraising.

Trump pledged throughout the campaign to invest heavily in infrastructure – up to $1 trillion over 10 years, he said at one point – to spur job creation and economic growth. A presidential transition website launched the week of his election victory, in early November, stating Trump plans to invest $550 billion in infrastructure.

Peter Navarro, a University of California, Irvine public-policy professor and senior advisor to Trump, released a document shortly before the election outlining how a Trump infrastructure plan might work.

He wrote that the real estate mogul’s plan could feature a “major private sector, revenue option,” with tax credits of up to 82 percent of the equity deployed designed to lure in investors. To offset the credits, Trump would raise tax revenues from additional wage income from workers and contractor profits.

Last week, the president-elect revealed part of the team who will be responsible for implementing his infrastructure policies when he announced Elaine Chao was his pick for Secretary of Transportation.

GIP declined to comment for this story.