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Youngkin names investment banker as Virginia finance secretary

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) offers remarks at a Virginia Chamber event in Richmond on Dec. 3. Youngkin has been announcing his picks for Cabinet secretaries this month. (Eva Russo/AP)

RICHMOND — Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) announced on Wednesday that he had chosen investment banker Stephen Emery Cummings to serve as Virginia’s next finance secretary.

Youngkin described Cummings, former president and chief executive of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in the Americas, as “a leader in Finance in the United States and abroad” in a news release announcing his selection.

“Steve shares my vision of respecting Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring the Commonwealth’s budget is managed effectively and efficiently, and he has the skillset and leadership qualities that our team needs to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Youngkin said in the release.

A political newcomer who will take office Jan. 15, Youngkin began rolling out his Cabinet picks earlier this week — considerably later than other recent incoming governors.

The slow pace has turned the quadrennial parlor game of predicting Cabinet picks into a far more protracted and opaque process, with lobbyists, interest groups and other Richmond insiders left guessing what the new administration might look like. Youngkin’s practice of sidestepping many policy specifics during the campaign has only heightened the anticipation.

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Although his transition team was heavy on legislators and other experienced political hands, Youngkin’s first three nominees all hail from outside government. That could suggest that Youngkin, a former Carlyle Group executive, intends to make good on promises to shake up Richmond.

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But there are many more Cabinet picks to come. Outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who, under the state constitution, could not seek a consecutive term, has a 15-member Cabinet.

Earlier this week, Youngkin named his choice for education secretary: Aimee Rogstad Guidera, a consultant and national expert on the use of data in education policy.

He also announced that he had picked Northern Virginia business executive Caren Merrick for commerce secretary.

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Cummings, the proposed finance secretary, previously worked as chairman of UBS’s investment banking division in the Americas; as global head of corporate and investment banking at Wachovia Bank; and as chairman and chief executive at Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., according to Youngkin’s news release.