US Russia sanctions architect Singh’s departure as Ukraine war drags on

Daleep Singh, US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, speaks about sanctions against Russia during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, February 22, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

US President Joe Biden will have a new “sherpa” when he travels to Germany next week – a former BlackRock strategist named Mike Pyle, who replaces former Washington sanctions focal point Daleep Singh.

Singh, who played a crucial role in the White House coordinating Western sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February, this week took up the post of chief global economist and head of research. macroeconomics at PGIM Fixed Income, a Wall Street asset manager with $890 billion in assets.

Singh, who was the deputy national security adviser, left the White House in April to ‘deal with a family matter’, a source said at the time, and would only have been away on leave temporary.

His role hovered between economic policy and national security, directing the work of several federal agencies that crafted the most intensive sanctions package in history against Russia and helping coordinate the president’s attendance at international conferences.

He was spooked by an incident at his Washington home shortly after the first round of sanctions was announced, when someone entered the front yard of his home before fleeing, according to a person familiar with the matter. . No connection was ever made between the incident and Singh’s sanctions work.

The departure comes at a key time for those sanctions, as officials fear efforts to cut off Russian oil and gas from international markets threaten to backfire, pushing Western economies into recession.

Pyle, who joined the Biden administration as chief economic adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris, took the interim post and will play the crucial role of coordinating “sherpa” in Singh’s absence when Biden joins the summit of the rich nations of the Group of Seven in Germany.

He is one of three senior administration officials who previously worked for investment giant BlackRock, along with Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese.

Progressive groups have sharply criticized Biden for giving key economic jobs to Wall Street advisers.

The White House declined to say whether Pyle’s assignment would be made permanent.

Pyle, who began his career as a lawyer for Merrick Garland when the current attorney general was a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals, is no stranger to global economic issues.

He worked as former President Barack Obama’s special assistant for economic policy and held key positions in the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama took office in the midst of a global financial crisis. While in the White House, Pyle also helped manage the administration’s response to the Eurozone financial crisis, worked on U.S.-China relations, Obama’s landmark health care reform law, and the economic recovery, according to the biography.

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