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Brian  Deese

Brian Deese

Global Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock & Former Senior Advisor to the President of the US


From restructuring the American auto industry to securing the Paris Climate Agreement, economic and clean energy expert Brian Deese was the President’s point person on some of the most historic undertakings of the Obama administration. During eight years that ran the gamut from financial crisis to momentous achievements in healthcare, environmental protection and bipartisan budget legislation, Deese rose to the position of Senior Advisor, counseling the President and shaping policy on conservation, energy, financial regulation, job creation and the economic impact of healthcare reform. A key driver of U.S. global leadership on climate change, Deese was responsible for engagement with China, India and other major economies and for implementing the Obama energy agenda at home and abroad. He acted as principal negotiator of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and oversaw the Supreme Court nomination process of Judge Merrick Garland. Brian also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Bringing perspectives gained in the White House inner circle and the center of major legislative and budget negotiations, Deese provides an insider’s outlook on subjects ranging from the future of healthcare and the economy to the future of our planet. His thought-provoking talks engage, inform and give audiences a high-level look at the political and economic landscape in 2020 and beyond. Read More >

His role in negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement led to his newest position at the Sustainable Investing group for BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management group. As the Global Head of Sustainable Investing, he is focused on identifying drivers of long-term return associated with environmental, social and governance issues, integrating them throughout Blackrock's investment processes, and creating solutions for clients to achieve sustainable investment return. His role in the company involves leading the effort to engage socially conscious investors who wish to align their portfolios with their values.

Currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Brian Deese first gained national attention during the 2009 auto industry bailout. As senior member of the White House economic team, he helped to manage two of the nation’s largest industrial bankruptcies and the restructuring of GM and Chrysler. Referred to as “the 31-year-old in charge of GM,” by the New York Times, Deese’s wunderkind status was confirmed when Fortune magazine chose him as one of their “40 under 40” hottest stars in business and finance. Named as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, he oversaw the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Later, as Deputy and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Deese managed the creation of the U.S. Federal Budget and drove reforms to improve the efficacy of government programs and services. He also led the White House’s work with Congress to craft the first full, bipartisan omnibus budget in more than 20 years. Prior to government service, Brian Deese worked as an advisor on both the Obama and Clinton 2008 campaigns, was a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and co-founder of the Center for Global Development. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and received a B.A., summa cum laude from Middlebury College. Most recently, he has been providing advice to institutions interested in sustainable investing strategies and lecturing at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Whether he’s weighing in on energy markets or providing inspirational advice on stepping up to lead (even if you’re the youngest person in the room), Brian Deese brings policy expertise, political wisdom and an infectious passion for public service to the keynote stage. Sharing behind-the-scenes stories from the White House, Congress and numerous negotiating tables, Deese tailors his talks to explore the issues that matter most to your organization and its future. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

New Uncertainties for Global Energy Markets

Politics of Climate Change in the U.S.

The Macroeconomics of Climate Change

Energy & Climate Change Trends and Opportunities

The International Landscape Post-Trump

Speech Topics

Energy, Climate Change & the Marketplace: Trends & Opportunities

After several years of historic progress in combating climate change and deploying clean energy, 2020 presents new uncertainties for global energy markets. Will the rapid rise of renewable energy continue? How much of Obama’s climate change strategy can Trump actually dismantle? Will major global players like China and India remain committed to addressing climate change in this new reality? How should businesses hedge against these risks to their operations and portfolios? Read More >

Having led the U.S.'s effort to secure the Paris Climate agreement and implement the Obama energy agenda at home and abroad, Deese can provide unique insight into these questions; offer tailored advice for businesses in sectors from real estate to financial services to information technology; and explain how and why continued progress on combating climate change is indeed possible, anchored in emerging market trends. Read Less ^

Business Forecast: Politics, Policy & the Economy

Currently, with major infrastructure and tax reform changes taking place, these moves will have enormous impacts on the American economy, business operations and on how families plan their lives. Read More >

Having been a core member of the President’s economic policy team, and participating in each of its successes and failures over the past eight years, Deese can offer a practical guide to understanding the near-term policy landscape: how the budget process can actually be used to reform entitlements and the tax code, what a major infrastructure push could actually look like, how ACA can and can’t actually be repealed, and what all this will mean for businesses and organizations large and small. Drawing from his experience negotiating recent infrastructure and budget agreements with Congressional Republican leadership, Deese can also offer insights about how the political landscape is likely to affect policy priorities in the coming years. Read Less ^

The Audacity to be a Young Leader

From remaking the American auto industry, to negotiating a global climate agreement, to vetting a Supreme Court nominee, Deese has learned to lead in environments where he has been consistently the youngest person around the table. Through a recounting of his own successes and failures, Deese offers students and younger audiences perspective on what it takes to lead at the highest levels even at a young age, to overcome experience deficit, and to balance risk taking with deep preparation and humility.

The Social Responsibility of Investors

As the head of the Sustainable Investing group of the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, Brian Deese is an expert on the movement towards sustainable investment. Deese is leading the company’s effort to appeal to investors who wish to help society. This goal aligns itself with the new trend on Wall Street, which is to integrate social issues with investment. In recent years, environmental, social and corporate-governance standards have shifted to appeal to younger investors and institutions that want their portfolios to mirror their values. For audiences, Deese brings to the table his experience in negotiating the Paris agreement on climate change, as well as his role in bailing out the US auto industry.

Connect with Brian Deese