The top executive at one of America's largest corporations is expected to take over as head of President Obama's outside economic advisory council.

Obama is expected to name Jeffery Immelt, the chief executive officer of General Electric (GE), as chairman of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

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The president is to formally announce the appointment during a Friday trip to Schenectady, N.Y., where he'll visit the birthplace of GE, the fourth-largest U.S. company, according to Fortune magazine.

Immelt replaces Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who will step down from his post as head of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, an outside panel recommending solutions on how best to boost the economy. Immelt had previously served as a member of the board, which includes prominent business and labor leaders.

The move appears to be another step by Obama to address tensions between his administration and the business community, a relationship that's been strained during his first two years in office.

The president recently named William Daley, a former Clinton administration official who had been a top executive at JP Morgan, as his chief of staff.

Immelt was in Washington earlier this week for a roundtable between business leaders and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao. During that time, GE announced several significant joint-venture energy projects with Chinese companies.

Immelt's appointment can also be seen as an overture, to a degree, to Republicans. The GE CEO has donated thousands to Republican candidates and committees over the years, though he's helped fund some Democratic campaigns as well. 

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) however said the council's creation does not go far enough.
 
“The Obama administration needs a new economic philosophy much more than it needs another council,” he said.  “Massive deficit spending, higher taxes, and the rapidly expanding regulatory state are all obstacles to prosperity, and President Obama’s agenda has increased these barriers by leaps and bounds."