Obama meets Boeing, Ford, JPMorgan, other execs


WASHINGTON, June 25 (Reuters) - Senior executives from a range of businesses, including Boeing Co , Ford Motor Co , and JPMorgan Chase & Co , met on Wednesday with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The private meeting with auto, aerospace, technology, healthcare, energy, financial services and communications executives, took place in Chicago but the campaign provided no details on what was discussed.

Alan Mulally, Ford's chief executive, said he shared perspectives on domestic manufacturing and called the meeting very productive.

"The vitality of our economy will depend on our government seeking a partnership with industry," Mulally said.

Other companies contacted by Reuters declined to comment.

In recent weeks, Obama, an Illinois senator, has focused heavily on the economy. He has pitched proposals for tax cuts and other ideas to workers in general election battleground states such as Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.

Executives at the meeting, according to the campaign, included: Ford's Mulally; James Bell, chief financial officer of Boeing; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan; Mark Gallogly, founder of Centerbridge Partners private equity firm; Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy Corp ; Ronald Williams, CEO of Aetna Inc ; Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp ; and Robert Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks Inc .

The companies represented at the Obama meeting are powerful players in the U.S. economy, but some of the sectors they represent are struggling.

Major Wall Street firms have lost billions in a global credit crunch driven by a severe slump in the U.S. housing market. Auto sales are hemorrhaging due to the softening economy and $4 a gallon gasoline, and aircraft manufacturers face fallout from deteriorating finances of U.S. airlines.

Obama is scheduled to hold a forum on economic competitiveness on Thursday in Pittsburgh that will include other business leaders like General Motors Corp chief executive Rick Wagoner.

Both Obama and his Republican rival John McCain are pressing proposals for tackling high energy prices that are dragging on the U.S. economy.

Auto companies, particularly, are seeking tax credits and other help from Washington to retool factories and spur consumer demand for energy-efficient vehicles.

Ford, GM and Chrysler, with sales of once popular sport utilities and pickups sliding dramatically this year, are moving with new urgency to develop hybrids, battery, and fuel cell vehicles and those that can run on gasoline-ethanol blends.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona said this week, that if elected, his administration would offer a $300 million cash prize to the company that develops the next generation battery technology to power cars. (Reporting by Caren Bohan in Chicago and John Crawley in Washington; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)



Follow Us

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×