WASHINGTON – Jeff Zients, who steered President Joe Biden’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the first year of his administration, will be named the new White House chief of staff, according to the Associated Press.
Zients, a management consultant who also served in President Barack Obama’s administration, will succeed Ron Klain, who is stepping down after guiding Biden’s first two years in office, the AP said, citing two people familiar with the matter. Klain plans to depart in the weeks following Biden’s State of the Union address in February.
Zients, 56, will step into the chief of staff’s role as Biden is dealing with the fallout from the discovery of classified documents at his home in Delaware and his former private office in Washington and as he is expected to run for a second term.
Zients served for 14 months as the coordinator of the White House’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including overseeing the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history. He also served as counselor to the president. Upon his departure last March, Biden described Zients as “a man of service and an expert manager.”
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Since serving as COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term.
Zients has been a member of Biden’s inner circle for years. When Biden was vice president, Zients worked with him as director of the National Economic Council and later served on the board of the Biden Cancer Initiative and as an adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign
The Washington Post was the first to report that Biden will name Zients as chief of staff.
Before a string of federal appointments, Zients served as chairman and CEO of The Advisory Board Co. and chairman of the Corporate Executive Board. He and media titan David Bradley took the two companies public, which made both men multimillionaires.
Zients and his wife also co-founded The Urban Alliance Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with corporations to provide economically disadvantaged youth with year-round paid internships, adult mentors and job training.
He also has served as chair of Children’s National Hospital.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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