By Herald de Paris Contributor's Bureau on January 20, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC (Herald de Paris) — ¬†A New Zealander and American resident, Christopher Liddell, 58, has been named Assistant to American President Donald Trump, and Director of Strategic Initiatives.
Mr. Liddell will be joining another New Zealander and American resident, who has already been based out of the West Wing for well over a year, Chief White House Correspondent Anna Wilding, who serves in the White House Press Corps. ¬†Both New Zealanders pave the way for kiwis serving in the White House. The only other strong Kiwi input outside the diplomatic corps, and specifically serving in the White House on a regular ongoing basis, was Ms. Wildings’ now retired colleague, veteran White House Correspondent Connie Lawn, an American by birth but often mentioned New Zealand in her radio reports. Ms. Lawn was presented with an honorary Order of New Zealand Merit many years ago.
Both Mr. Liddell and Ms. Wilding come with lengthy accomplishments and an intimate and working business understanding of both the United States¬†and the world at large.
Ms. Wilding ¬†has a strong background as an award winning filmmaker, consultant, director, producer, actress, host, photographer, writer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Well known in the movie, media, and entertainment industries also as a film executive and adviser, and still active in the movie business, Ms. Wilding has worked over 20 years on both blockbuster and smaller independent films. Ms. Wilding was nicknamed, “Queen of the Independents,” in LA for her involvement in many of the popular art house films in the 1990’s and 2000’s, and was named as one of only 100 women directors in the history of cinema who had a film released commercially in cinemas. Her critically acclaimed Buddha Wild played a combined total of 60 days.
In addition, Ms. Wilding worked on the production of campaigns for commercial brands and high-end major rock music videos such as Stanley Jordan, Lenny Kravitz, the Rolling Stones, and others. ¬†Her well received feature film on the New Zealand earthquakes, Faultline, featured exclusive interviews with the NASA STS 133 Crew.
Ms. Wilding has spoken at the American Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival as Guest Spotlight Speaker, SAG Foundation, IFP, Digital Hollywood New York and Los Angeles, and at major museums and universities. In addition, Anna served as the Casting Director for the 2016 edition of Oreo’s iconic National Christmas TV commercial. ¬†Ms. Wilding is speaking in Richmond at the end of January 2017 on a panel for the Virginia film industry.
Ms. Wilding founded the Wilding Foundation, a non profit which gave tens of thousands of scholarship dollars to deserving talent, and for New Zealand earthquake relief. ¬†As an entrepreneur, her moisturizing line, Kalon Skincare, became a best seller on Amazon, being a, “# 1 hottest new seller in 2012,” and being named in Amazon Magazine 2012 as one of the best top ten skincare brands in the world.
Ms. Wilding’s stunning photographs of President Obama and the First Lady have been seen in publications around the world and her news articles, have been syndicated. Ms. Wilding also appears on broadcast TV as a Commentator, most recently for I24 News in Israel. Nevertheless, Ms. Wilding has expressed an interest to join the White House in other capacities.
According to New Zealand Edge Magazine, “New York-based Liddell has been playing a key role on the Trump transition as Special Advisor on Presidential Appointments.” He wrote the playbook for presidential transitions ‚Äď The Romney Readiness Project ‚Äď after being executive director of the transition preparatory team during the 2012 U.S. elections.
An American resident for the past 14 years, Liddell played a pivotal role in restoring confidence in the US auto industry by leading the company‚Äôs U.S. $23 billion Initial Public Offering for General Motors, where he served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President. The IPO was the largest-ever at the time. He re-organized the company‚Äôs finances and stabilized the company for the benefit of over 200,000 employees, the US government, and communities across America.
Liddell was previously Global Chief Financial Officer for Microsoft, overseeing corporate strategy, acquisitions, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting and reporting, internal audits and investor relations. Most recently, he was CFO of global sports, entertainment and media agency WME/IMG.
Throughout his time in the U.S., Liddell has maintained an active New Zealand portfolio of activities, including chairmanship of leading cloud accounting software company Xero, chair of education and environmental philanthropy organization NEXT Foundation, and other contributions to not-for-profit boards and sport. He was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2016 for his contribution to business and philanthropy.
Liddell was a prime mover in the formation of the New Zealand Institute, an innovative think tank which influenced both debates and policy formulation to improve economic prosperity, social well-being, environmental quality and environmental productivity. He was also an instigator of the Knowledge Wave conference in 2001 which set out the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand in a digital age.”