President Biden on Friday formally named former COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients to replace Ron Klain as White House chief of staff.
Zients, a wealthy former health care executive, is a veteran of the Obama-Biden administration and led the White House COVID-19 task force from January 2021 to April 2022. Biden offered effusive praise for Zients in a statement announcing his appointment, saying he has tackled “some of the toughest issues in government.”
“When I ran for office, I promised to make government work for the American people. That’s what Jeff does. A big task ahead is now implementing the laws we’ve gotten passed efficiently and fairly,” Biden said.
Zients has held various roles in the federal government. He began his work for the Obama administration in the Office of Management and Budget. In 2013, Zients was tasked with correcting the disastrous rollout of the healthcare.gov website. From 2014 to 2017, Zients served as an assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council.
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He went back to the private sector after leaving the Obama administration, holding a seat on Facebook’s board of directors for two years.
He returned to the federal government under President Biden to lead the White House COVID-19 Response Team.
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“I’m confident that Jeff will continue Ron’s example of smart, steady leadership, as we continue to work hard every day for the people we were sent here to serve,” Biden said.
The president also praised his outgoing chief of staff Ron Klain, calling him a “once-in-a-generation talent with a fierce and brilliant intellect” and “a really big heart.”
The White House will host an official transition event next week to thank Klain for his service and welcome Zients into his new role, the president said.
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Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom, Brooke Singman, and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.