President Biden officially announced on Friday that Jeff Zients, the former White House COVID-19 czar, will replace Ron Klain as chief of staff.
In a lengthy statement, Mr Biden praised Klain for his tireless work and said he was “confident that Jeff will continue Ron’s example of intelligent and stable leadership as we continue to work hard every day to the people we have been sent here to serve”. .”
CBS News had already reported that Zients would replace Klain. Klain has been Mr. Biden’s chief of staff since day one.
The president said the White House will host a formal transition event next week to thank Klain and welcome Zients to the White House as chief of staff.
So who is Jeff Zients?
Mr. Biden described Zients as an “expert manager,” which is why the president hired him to manage the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has more business experience than Klain, which could benefit the president as he heads into the second half of his term. Zients left his position as COVID-19 coordinator last year.
“He’s a great performer, he’s great in operations and he’s also an incredible human being, which I think should also count,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean- Pierre, before any announcement.
He has extensive experience in the private sector
Zients’ background is in management consulting and corporate leadership, and he spent approximately two decades in the private sector. Zients worked for the consulting firm Bain & Company and served as CEO and Chairman of The Advisory Board Company. He has also served on the boards of Facebook, Children’s National Medical Center and Sirius XM Radio, according to his Obama-era biography.
Zients also co-founded The Urban Alliance Foundation, a nonprofit that works with businesses to provide young people from low-income families with paid internships, mentors, and job training.
A DC-specific fame claim is that Zients is an original investor and co-owner of the popular local chain, Call Your Mother Deli. Mr. Biden visited the Georgetown site as president.
In 2002, when he was 35, Zients landed on Fortune magazine’s list of the 40 richest Americans under 40. The magazine at the time estimated his wealth at $149 million.
He worked for the Obama administration
Zients’ first job in government was in 2009, when he was appointed performance director for the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget. He later served as director of the National Economic Council and Obama’s aide for economic policy.
Zients also addressed the consequences of Healthcare.gov failures, after the Affordable Care Act website imploded shortly after launch.
“When I ran for office, I promised to make government work for the American people,” Biden said in his Friday statement. “That’s what Jeff is doing. A big task ahead now is to implement the laws we have passed in an effective and fair manner.”
He grew up in DC
Zients was born and raised in Washington, D.C., attending St. Albans Boys’ Private School in the city. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University.
Published video of Paul Pelosi attack
Heart-related deaths rose sharply in the first year of the COVID pandemic
Biden announces Jeff Zients as next White House chief of staff