LONDON (Reuters) - The economist who coined the terms BRICs to describe the world's leading emerging nations is turning his sights closer to home after he was appointed by British Chancellor George Osborne to work for him.
Former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill will be commercial secretary to the Treasury, a junior ministerial role which includes responsibility for boosting infrastructure and improving competition policy.
He will also play a role in the government's push to devolve more powers to British cities and create more growth in the north of England to counterbalance the might of London, according to the text of a speech by Osborne on Thursday.
Last year, O'Neill was put in charge of an international commission to investigate global antimicrobial resistance by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Manchester-born O'Neill chaired the Cities Growth Commission in Britain until October 2014. The commission's recommendations have influenced Osborne's thinking on devolution of powers to cities.
Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken