Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who launched automotive supplier IAC Group in 2006, is under consideration by President-elect Donald Trump for two key cabinet positions, according to several reports.
Ross was one of several candidates for treasury secretary to meet with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Nov. 20 at the president-elect's golf club in Bedminster, N.J., according to Bloomberg. Ross, a Trump economic adviser, is also considered a leading candidate for commerce secretary.
Ross spent about 30 minutes with Trump, with both men calling it a “very good meeting.” The two discussed “negotiating the best foreign deals, American manufacturing and job creation,” as well as “engaging Ambassadors to participate in creating more economic opportunities for America,” Trump's office said.
Ross is the former chairman of IAC, which was formed in 2006 when Lear Corp.'s North American interiors unit and Collins & Aikman Corp.'s European business were merged under Ross' private equity firm, W.L. Ross and Co., and Franklin Mutual Advisers.
IAC is ranked No. 2 in Plastics News' top injection molders in North America, with $1.9 billion in injection molding in North America alone and 13,000 employees in the region. It also has in-house compounding and other plastics operations.
It is ranked No. 43 among global auto suppliers by Automotive News, a sister publication of Plastics News, with global sales of $5.9 billion in 2015.
Ross, a turnaround artist known for orchestrating high-profile bankruptcy restructurings in the 1980s and 1990s, stepped down from his role as IAC chairman in 2014 to become vice chairman at the Bank of Cyprus.
Stephen Toy, an executive with W.L. Ross, replaced Wilbur Ross as chairman of IAC. W.L. Ross is IAC's principal shareholder, with a 60 percent stake. The other major shareholder is Franklin Mutual, with an undisclosed share.
Like Trump, Ross has been a fierce critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals. Trump made opposition to NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership one of the key pillars of his campaign, characterizing them as detrimental to the U.S. economy and unfair to American workers.
Ross, in a CNBC op-ed in July that he co-authored with Peter Navarro, a University of California-Irvine business professor and Trump adviser, criticized NAFTA and other trade agreements the U.S. has signed as having “fundamental flaws” and called on the U.S. to renegotiate them.
“In any negotiation or renegotiation, our guiding principle should be this: Enter into a free trade agreement only if it both increases total trade and reduces our trade deficit,” the op-ed reads. “When those two conditions are met, real world trade will converge with textbook theory, this country will be far more prosperous, and a now shattered faith in the global trading order will be restored.”