Austan Goolsbee ’91 was named chief economist and staff director of President-elect Barack Obama’s newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Obama announced today.

The board will be tasked with providing “independent, nonpartisan” advice to Obama as he engineers his administration’s economic plan. Goolsbee, who graduated summa cum laude from Yale with a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics, will also serve as a member of the President-elect’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“At this defining moment for our nation, the old ways of thinking and acting just won’t do,” Obama said, according to a statement. “They call for us to seek fresh thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across America.”

As an undergraduate, Goolsbee was a member of the improvisational comedy group Just Add Water. He was also a part of the storied 1991 class of Skull and Bones that, for the first time in the society’s history, tapped women.

In an interview with the News last year, Goolsbee described Obama’s decision-making process.

“He likes to bring in three or four people who disagree with each other,” Goolsbee said. “Then he’ll have them debate while he quizzes them.”

Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, was appointed chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board.