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Who is Adewale Adeyemo? Mini-biography and facts of Nigerian-born US deputy treasury secretary appointee

Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo is a renowned economist and seasoned financial executive. He made the news in 2020 after the United States President-elect, Joe Biden, appointed him as deputy treasury secretary for his upcoming administration. However, this was not the first time that Adeyemo was getting a nod from notable individuals.

In this article, you will learn several interesting facts about Adewale Adeyemo and how he came to be one of the top individuals in the US.

Top 10 facts about Adewale Adeyemo

  1. Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo was born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents in the year 1981 but his family migrated to the US when he was a baby.
  2. He grew up with his younger brother and sister in the east of Los Angeles, California.
  3. Adeyemo obtained his first degree from the University of California, UC Berkeley.
  4. He also holds a J.D from Yale Law School; this degree gives him a general overview knowledge about United States law.
  5. In 2013, Adewale Adeyemo worked as a senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to the 76th United States secretary of the treasury, Jack Lew.
  6. He was the first chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Elizabeth Warren.
  7. Under President Barack Obama, Adewale Adeyemo was the deputy national security advisor and deputy director of the National Economic Council.
  8. He served as the senior advisor to the vice chairman at BlackRock Inc. between May 2017 and December 2019 and was recently at the President Barack Obama Foundation.
  9. Wally Adeyemo represented  President Barack Obama at some G7 summit and the G20 international forums as well.
  10. US 2020 President-elect, Joe Biden, picked Adewale Adeyemo to serve as the deputy treasury secretary He will be the first black deputy at the treasury.

Also read: Olusegun Obasanjo Biography: Early life and education, military career, political career and facts

Adewale Adeyemo Biography: Early life

According to a BBC article on him, Adewale Adeyemo was born in 1981 in Nigeria. There is not enough information about his parents available at this time, however, it is clear that either one or both of them were indigenes of a Yoruba-speaking region.

A New York Times article claims that his father had been a teacher while his mother was a nurse. They had come to the US when Adeyemo was still a baby. Additionally, his first name and last name points to a royal lineage because “Ade”, which is a prefix of both names that means ‘crown’.

But surprisingly, rather than a wealthy upbringing, he grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with his family in the east of Los Angeles, California. Adewale Adeyemo had to share a room with his younger brother and sister. He earned the nickname ‘Wally’ during his childhood and it stuck with him all through his career.

Adewale Adeyemo Education

Adeyemo completed most of his early education in Los Angeles, California. When it was time to pursue a degree, he attended the University of California, Berkeley. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, he also obtained a J.D from Yale Law School, according to his Bloomberg profile.

A J.D or Juris Doctor degree is an academic credential that paves the way for a career as a lawyer. It is a fundamental law degree that an American attorney obtains before taking the bar exam and being sworn in as an attorney.

It is different from a master of laws degree, commonly known as an LL.M., in that a J.D offers an overview of multiple areas of law while an LL.M is a highly specialised advanced law degree.

This means that while Adewale Adeyemo does not practice as a lawyer, he has a well-rounded knowledge about the United States law. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to his ability to discharge duties that came with many of the high-profile jobs that he has undertaken.

Adewale Adeyemo: Career

Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo began his professional career as an editor at The Hamilton Project, a 2006 economic policy initiative launched at the Brookings Institution. The organisation provides a platform for a broad range of leading economic thinkers to inject innovative and pragmatic policy options into the national debate.

After his stint at The Hamilton Project, in 2013, Adewale Adeyemo served as a senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to the 76th United States Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew.  At the US Department of the Treasury, Wally was the chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s provisions on macroeconomic policy.

See also: Banky W Biography: Early life, education, music & film career, E.M.E, net worth & more

Further, he was the first chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Elizabeth Warren, now a US Federal Senator and one those that contested against Joe Biden for the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket. During his time at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wally Adeyemo helped to hire the bureau’s initial executive leadership team and also built an agency devoted to protecting US consumers.

Two years later, President Barack Obama appointed Adewale Adeyemo as the deputy national security advisor and the deputy director of the National Economic Council. Part of his responsibility involved coordinating the policymaking process on international finance, trade and investment, energy and environmental issues.

He also represented Obama at some G7 summits and the G20 international forums. Wally Adeyemo was also a senior adviser on Economics Programs at the Center for Strategy & International Studies.

Adewale Adeyemo biography facts
Adewale Adeyemo with Barack Obama

Adewale Adeyemo was a senior advisor to the vice chairman at BlackRock Inc. between May 2017 and December 2019. Before his appointment by President-elect Joe Biden to serve under his administration after he is sworn in on 20 January 2021, Wally Adeyemo was the president of the Barack Obama Foundation, a non-profit organisation that focuses on inspiring people regardless of their race, gender, and socioeconomic status to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together.

Coming on the back of such an impressive career, his appointment into Biden’s team is also a big win for both Adeyemo and the incoming Joe Biden White House.

Joe Biden picks Adewale Adeyemo

On 1st December 2020, it became public knowledge that the US President-elect Joe Biden has picked Mr Adeyemo to serve as the deputy treasury secretary. One of the most talked-about things about the appointment was that the Nigerian-born economist increased the diversity among the incoming Joe Biden White House team.

It is not far-fetched as that has been the order of the day for most of Biden’s appointments. In fact, Adeyemo will be the first Black deputy at the treasury and he will be serving with the first female secretary Janet L. Yellen if the US Republican-dominated Senate votes to approve her appointment.

When Biden announced Adeyemo, he took the time to reveal his desire to reduce inequality in the United States and increase the fortunes of the middle class. He also described growing up in a state that was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis.

You may also like: Joe Biden picks an all-female senior communications team for his administration

Part of his speech reads: “In California’s Inland Empire, where I had grown up in a working-class neighbourhood, the Great Recession hit us hard. We were one of the foreclosure capitals of the United States. The pain of this was real for me.”

He also went on his Twitter page to say: “As Deputy Treasury Secretary, I look forward to helping us build back our better economy.”

Following 39-year-old Adeyemo’s appointment, Nigerian social media users sent congratulatory messages. Among them were Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and many others.

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