Old school lauds former student and Trump adviser.

The first photographs have emerged of Kiwi business leader Chris Liddell getting to work in Donald Trump's White House.

Matamata-born Liddell, 58, was announced White House Director of Strategic Initiatives by President Trump two weeks ago - a job placing the Kiwi at the head of a group dubbed "the White House think tank".

Liddell, Trump and vice president Mike Pence were part of a US Government delegation which hosted leaders of the automobile industry for a breakfast meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

Smiling and looking relaxed in a charcoal pin-striped suit, Liddell sat behind Trump as the US President told chief executives of America's biggest car companies that environmental regulations were "out of control" and promised he would remove obstacles for manufacturers and oil companies.


Liddell's New York spokesman told the Herald on Sunday this week that it was too early for the high-flying New Zealander to be available for interview due to "protocols in place" around his new role.

Born and raised in the upper North Island, Liddell has built a stellar C.V, including stints as chief financial officer of both Microsoft and General Motors.

While at GM, he helped engineer its US$23 billion float in 2010 - at the time one of the biggest sharemarket listings in history.

Through international fame and fortune, Liddell has remained loyal to New Zealand business and causes - including a $1m donation in 2014, with his brother John, to former stomping ground Mount Albert Grammar School.

Greg Moyle, chair of the school's board of trustees, lauded Liddell's commitment to the large Auckland school and said he hopes Trump's right hand man can call in sometime soon to tell them what it's like to work with the most powerful man in the world.

"The school is indebted to Chris from the point of view that he's one of our distinguished old boys of course, but he's a bloke who has given a lot back," Moyle said.

"He's happy to provide scholarships for both students and staff, so he's shared his good fortune with a lot of people.

"In particular he hasn't forgotten the school where he and his brother John both received their education. They're a Mount Albert family.


"When he finds time to come back to New Zealand we would love to have him back at the school and speak to the assembled students - perhaps relate a little bit of his experiences."

Moyle said he thought Trump was fortunate to have a man of Liddell's stature by his side - and hopes he takes notice of what the Kiwi has to say.

"He's done it in the past, he's a very good speaker, very inspirational and I would think Mr Trump is very lucky to have an adviser the quality of Chris Liddell assisting him.

"I hope he listens to him, I'm sure he will."

Most recently Liddell was the chairman of Kiwi accounting software maker Xero - a post he resigned from for the White House gig - and the father-of-two has held positions as the CFO of International Paper, a chief executive of Carter Holt Harvey and co-CEO of investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston.

A companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit, Liddell also chairs Next Foundation - an environmental and education fund.

Liddell is married to American Renee Harbers. His previously was married to Kiwi businesswomen Bridget Wickham and Sarah Kennedy.