(CNN) – Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, was named Thursday as president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington-based lobbying group.
Pawlenty will step down as a national co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to assume the new role, which will formally begin November 1.
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"Tim's leadership, vision and ability to find common ground make him the right choice to represent the broad membership of The Financial Services Roundtable," Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate and chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable, wrote in a statement
"Tim knows this and is able to create win-win solutions to difficult issues," he added. "He is exactly the kind of leader we need to continue to improve our industry's reputation, advocate firm-but-fair regulation and help maintain our global leadership of the financial markets."
Pawlenty served as Minnesota's governor from 2003-2011, and before that served in the state's legislature. He made a brief bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, dropping out in August 2011 and backing Mitt Romney. He became a frequent Romney surrogate and was considered a top contender to become Romney's running mate, though that honor eventually went to Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
"My time in public service was rewarding and focused on achieving results," Pawlenty said in a statement. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am now moving on and committed to focusing fully on this new opportunity."
In a separate statement, released by Romney's campaign, Pawlenty said he was still fully supportive of the GOP nominee.
"It is an honor to call Mitt and Ann my friends," Pawlenty wrote. "My new position as CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable does not allow me to participate in partisan campaign activities. For that reason, I am stepping down from my position as co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. My work with Mitt has been a privilege. Mitt Romney is a truly good man and great leader. As the campaign moves into the home stretch, he has my full support and continued faith in his vision and his policies."
Romney also called Pawlenty a friend, writing his former rival "brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he's ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign.
"While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country," Romney added. "I congratulate him on his new position and wish him every success in carrying out his new mission."