(Bloomberg News) Roger Altman, founder of Evercore Partners Inc. and a former deputy treasury secretary, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Lawrence Summers as director of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Altman was seen outside the White House's Oval Office waiting to meet with the president this afternoon. He served at the Treasury Department from 1993-1995 during the administration of former President Bill Clinton.

Altman, 64, has close ties to the business community, and the people familiar with the matter said he might be able to repair the rift that has emerged between Obama and investors. He didn't immediately return a request for comment.

The search for a director of the council has been under way at least since September, when Summers announced he planned to return at the end of the year to Harvard University where he was once president.

"The president is considering a number of qualified candidates, but he has only begun the process and no decisions have been made," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said when asked about Altman.

The National Economic Council includes the heads of departments and agencies whose policies have an impact on the economy. The group coordinates policy-making and economic advice for the president.

Business Relations

The administration is trying to repair relations with the business community that were frayed by the battles over health care and financial regulations and to spur job growth after losing control of the House of Representatives in this month's congressional elections.

"Setting the right tone publicly is going to be important and could end up making a difference at the margins in terms of how businesses make investment decisions," Obama said Nov. 3, at a post-election White House new conference.

Other members of Obama's economic team who have left the administration since July include budget director Peter Orszag and Christina Romer, head of Council of Economic Advisers. Austan Goolsbee has taken over at the Council of Economic Advisers. The confirmation of Obama's choice to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, has been held up in the Senate.