Lazard Ltd.'s Antonio Weiss has withdrawn from consideration to be Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance as his nomination ran into opposition from Democrats in the Senate.
Weiss will become counselor to Treasury Secretary Jacob J.
Lew, a position that doesn't require Senate confirmation, the White House said in a statement. No timetable was given for finding another candidate for the job of undersecretary.
Weiss asked President Barack Obama over the weekend to pull his name from consideration, saying the confirmation process would be too much of a distraction, the White House said.
Lew said in a statement today that he thinks opposition to Weiss was "not justified" and he is "disappointed that Antonio will not have the opportunity to serve as undersecretary, but I understand his request."
Administration officials through the end of the year said Obama had maintained support for Weiss even as more than a half- dozen senators public opposed the nomination. Weiss's nomination had also drawn ire from the Independent Community Bankers of America and from Sheila Bair, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Among Weiss's opponents was Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat and one of Obama's staunchest congressional allies, who raised concerns about Weiss's work on corporate inversions.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, also worked to derail the nomination because she argued that Wall Street is overrepresented in the administration.
As a counselor, Weiss will "provide advice to me on a broad range of domestic and international issues, including financial markets, regulatory reform, job creation, and fostering broad-based economic growth," Lew said. "It is a testament to Antonio's character and commitment to public service that he is willing to serve his country in this capacity."
Weiss, 48, is Lazard's global head of investment banking. A company spokeswoman confirmed that he will leave his position at the bank to take on the counselor job.
As undersecretary, Weiss would have been the Treasury's top domestic official after Lew and managed U.S. debt. The undersecretary also is the department's main liaison to Wall Street and the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a group of fixed-income investors on Wall Street that convenes quarterly to discuss the supply of and demand for bills, notes and bonds.