List and Bios of Obama’s Key White House Staff and Cabinet
Here is an up-to-date list of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet and key White House staff. Health and Human Services Department Secretary nominee Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, chief performance officer nominee, stepped away from their appointments yesterday because of issues concerning their personal taxes. The office of surgeon general is still unfilled, but is rumored to have been offered to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) has been nominated as secretary for the Department of Commerce after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson removed his name from the nomination. This list is an update from my post earlier this year. The links are to extensive profiles by WhoRunsGov.com.
Foreign Affairs Staff
Once a political rival, Clinton became the only former first lady to be elected to public office when she was elected as U.S. senator from New York. Clinton became the first woman ever to win a presidential primary, receiving more than 18 million votes during the campaign.
Steinberg has been dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs since 2006. Before joining the school, he was the vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2005, where he supervised a wide-ranging research program on U.S. foreign policy. From 1996 to 2000, he served as deputy national security adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Lew is a managing director and chief operating officer of Citi Alternative Investments, where he is responsible for operations, technology, human resources, legal, finance and regional coordination. Previously, Lew was executive vice president and chief operating officer of New York University. Prior to joining NYU, Lew served in Clinton’s cabinet as the director of the Office of Management and Budget and led the administration’s budget team.
Gates was sworn in on Dec. 18, 2006, as the 22nd secretary of defense. He was president of Texas A&M University. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser at the White House from 1989 to 1991 for President George H.W. Bush.
Lynn served as the undersecretary of defense (Comptroller) from 1997 to 2001. In that position, he was the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense. From 1993 to 1997, Lynn was the director of program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he oversaw all aspects of the DoD’s strategic planning process. Lynn has also served for six years on the staff of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as liaison to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Hale currently is the executive director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC). From 1994 to 2001 Hale was President Bill Clinton’s assistant secretary of the Air Force (financial management and comptroller).
Flournoy cofounded and was named in 2007 as president of the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining the center, she was a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Rice served most recently as a senior foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign while on leave from the Brookings Institution where she is a senior fellow in the foreign policy and global economy and development programs. From 1997-2001, she was U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She was a Rhodes Scholar.
Blair was commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. He is a former NSC staffer and the first associate director of Central Intelligence for military support. Blair is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a Rhodes scholarship.
Panetta, who is currently director of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University, Monterey Bay, was once chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. From 1989 to 1993, Panetta was chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. He also served as a member of that committee from 1979 to 1985. Panetta left Congress in 1993, at the beginning of his ninth term, to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the incoming Clinton administration. Panetta was appointed Clinton’s chief of staff in 1994.
Jones is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy. From 1999 to 2003, Jones was the 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps. After relinquishing command as commandant, he assumed the positions of Supreme Allied commander, Europe (SACEUR) and commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM), positions he held until December 2006.
Donilon is a partner at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers and serves on the firm’s global governing committee. Most recently Mr. Donilon co-chaired the Obama-Biden State Department Agency Review Team and the Obama-Biden general election debate preparation effort. Mr. Donilon served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs and chief of staff at the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration.
Eric Holder, Attorney General Holder is a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. In 1988, Holder was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to become an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Holder to become the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1997, Clinton appointed Holder to serve as deputy attorney general.
Ogden is a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Ogden served as assistant attorney general, civil division, from 1999 to 2001 under President Clinton. He served as chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno and as counselor to the attorney general from 1997 to 1998.
Kagan, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law, has been the 11th dean of Harvard Law School since 2003. From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served in the White House, first as associate counsel to the president (1995-96) and then as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council (1997-99).
Tom Perrelli, Associate Attorney General
Perrelli is managing partner of Jenner & Block’s Washington, D.C., office. He is co-chair of the firm’s entertainment and new media practice and is a member of the firm’s litigation department. From 1997-99, Perrelli served as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno.
Johnsen is a professor of law at the Indiana University School of Law—Bloomington, where she teaches and writes about issues of constitutional law. She served in the office of legal counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice as the acting assistant attorney general heading that office (1997-98) and as a deputy assistant attorney general (1993-96).
Craig served under President Clinton as assistant to the president and special counsel. Before that appointment he served for two years as director of policy planning under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Craig also worked for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as senior adviser on defense, foreign policy, and national security from 1984-1988.
Jeh Charles Johnson, General Counsel
Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, based in New York City. Johnson served in the Clinton administration as general counsel of the Department of the Air Force. He was also a foreign policy adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign.
Susan Sher, Associate Counsel to the President
Sher’s duties will include providing legal advice to the first lady and working on legal issues associated with health-care policy. Sher is currently the vice president for legal and governmental affairs and general counsel of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Domestic Issues Staff
Prior to her election as governor of Arizona, Napolitano served one term as Arizona attorney general and four years as U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. She is the past chair of the National Governors Association — the first woman to hold this position.
First elected in 2000, Solis is serving her fourth term in the House of Representatives, representing the 32nd Congressional District of California. Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served eight years in the California state legislature.
LaHood served seven terms representing the 18th District of Illinois. LaHood was a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Vilsack was elected Democratic governor of Iowa in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. Before serving as governor, Vilsack was mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 1992.
Salazar from Colorado was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. A farmer for more than 30 years, Salazar helped form the El Rancho Salazar partnership in 1981. Salazar served as Colorado’s attorney general from 1999 to 2004.
For the past seven years, Duncan has served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools. Prior to joining the public school system, Duncan directed the Ariel Education Initiative, a program which seeks to create educational opportunities for inner-city children on the South Side of Chicago.
Donovan was appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in 2004 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Donovan worked at Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. as managing director of its FHA lending and affordable housing investments.
Shinseki graduated from West Point in 1965. He went on to serve in the Army for 38 years, from 1965 to 2003, including two combat tours in Vietnam, where he lost part of his right foot. He served as chief of staff of the Army from 1999-2003. Shinseki is the recipient of numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals.
Gregg has been a Republican senator from New Hampshire since 1993. Previously, he served as governor from 1989 to 1993, and as a congressman from 1981 to 1989.
Barnes served as the senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign. Barnes previously served as executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and as chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995 until 2003.
igginbottom served as policy director for the Obama campaign, overseeing all aspects of policy development. From 1999 to 2007, Higginbottom served as Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)’s legislative director.
White House Staff
Emanuel, 48, served as a senior adviser to President Clinton, and has represented the fifth congressional district of Illinois since 2002. He was a member of the Clinton White House for seven years. At the beginning of his second term in Congress, Emanuel served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, and Medicare issues. Additionally, Emanuel was appointed by then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Starting in 2007, Emanuel served as Democratic caucus chairman, the fourth highest ranking Member of the House Democratic leadership.
Sutphen has been managing director of Stonebridge International LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., that advises Fortune 500 and major multinational corporations on business opportunities and challenges worldwide.
Messina served as national chief of staff for Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and U.S. Rep Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.).
Axelrod served as Obama’s chief strategist during the presidential campaign, and led Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign. He spent eight years as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where he covered national, state, and local politics and became the youngest political writer and columnist in the paper’s history.
Rouse was chief of staff to Sen. Obama, and has served as chief of staff to members of the United States Congress for more than 30 years. Spent most of his time working for Sen. Tom Daschle.
Jarrett became the president and chief executive officer of The Habitat Co. in 2007. The Habitat Co. is one of the nation’s premier developers and managers of residential apartments and condominiums.
Gips will set up the office and manage the initial staffing. This is similar to the role he played in helping Obama assemble his U.S. Senate staff. He is currently on leave from his role as group vice president of Global Corporate Development at Level 3 Communications.
Bradley J. Kiley, Director of the Office of Management and Administration
Kiley served as vice president of finance and operations at the Center for American Progress. Kiley served as deputy assistant to the president for management and administration at the White House under President Clinton. There he was responsible for all aspects of White House operations, including the travel office, the visitor’s office, and White House administration, which included finance, human resources and facilities.
Elizabeth Sears Smith, White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary
Sears Smith is currently the chief of staff for Obama Chief of Staff Designate Rahm Emanuel. She has served in this role since Emanuel was elected to Congress in 2002. Prior to this, Smith served in the Clinton administration as a deputy assistant secretary in the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce.
Tchen serves on the board of the Chicago Bar Foundation. She is also chairwoman of the Board of Field Foundation of Illinois and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Library and the Board of the Chinese American Service League.
Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Muñoz currently serves as senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she supervises all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by NCLR policy staff.
A native of Chicago, Strautmanis first came to know the Obamas when he worked as a paralegal at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin for Michelle Obama. Strautmanis served as legislative director and counsel to then Rep. Rod Blagojevich, aiding Blagojevich in his successful 2002 Illinois gubernatorial campaign, and serving as counsel for Legislation for the American Association of Justice. Strautmanis served as chief counsel and deputy chief of staff to Obama in the U.S. Senate.
Louis Caldera, Director of the White House Military Office
In 1992, Caldera was elected to the California State Assembly, and later served in the Clinton administration. From 1997 to 1998, Caldera was managing director and chief operating officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service. From 1998 to 2001 he served as the nation’s 17th Secretary of the Army.
Mastromonaco served as director of scheduling and advance for Obama’s presidential campaign. She first joined Obama’s U.S. Senate office as Director of Scheduling.
Rogers is the president of social networking for Allstate Financial. In 1997, Rogers joined Peoples Energy, a Chicago based natural-gas company. Prior to this, Rogers served as director of the Illinois Lottery.
Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer
Souza is a freelance photographer and currently an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. He has worked as a White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan, a freelancer for National Geographic, and as the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in its Washington bureau.
Brown is the executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Lisa was counsel to Vice President Al Gore from September 1999 through January 2001, and deputy counsel from April 1997 through August 1999.
Lu has worked for President-elect Obama in a number of roles over the past four years. He was legislative director and acting chief of staff in Obama’s Senate office, as well as a policy adviser during the presidential campaign.
Gaspard served as national political director for Obama’s presidential campaign. Previously, Gaspard served as the executive vice president of politics and legislation for Local 1199 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, the largest local union in America.
Maher most recently served as staff director and general counsel to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Prior to that position, he served as legislative director to Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and as counsel to Dodd in his capacity as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was also an aide to Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D.-Mass.).
Turton began his career as an aide to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.). Turton also served as the Democratic parliamentarian on the House floor.
Schiliro was a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign. He has worked on staff in Congress for more than 25 years.
Moran is executive director of EMILY’s List, where she oversees the national staff and charts the overall strategic direction of the organization. Moran was the coordinator of the AFL-CIO’s “corporate accountability campaign” against Wal-Mart. During a leave of absence in 2004, she managed “independent expenditures,” advertising and other campaign activities for the Democratic National Committee.
Dan Pfeiffer, Deputy Director of Communications
Pfeiffer began on Obama’s presidential campaign in January 2007 as the traveling press secretary before returning to Chicago to manage the press operation as communications director.
Gibbs began working with Obama in April 2004 serving as communications director for his Senate race and later as his Senate communications director. Gibbs held the position of communications director for Obama’s presidential campaign until becoming senior strategist for communications and message during the general election.
Favreau served as director of speechwriting during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has worked for Obama since 2005, when he joined Obama’s Senate office as a speechwriter. Previously, Favreau served as deputy director of speechwriting on Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Science and Health Staff
Lambrew is an associate professor of public affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Jane Lubchenco, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator
Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and marine ecologist. She has been on the faculty at Oregon State University since 1978. She is past-president of the International Council for Science and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America.
John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST)
Holdren is the Teresa and John Heinz professor of environmental policy and director of the program on science, technology, and public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, as well as president and director of the Woods Hole Research Center.
Dr. Eric Lander, Co-Chair, President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST)
Lander is founding director of the Broad Institute. He is one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. Lander is also professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. Lander was a Rhodes Scholar.
Dr. Harold Varmus, Co-Chair, President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST)
Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, has served as the president and chief executive officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City since 2000.
Economic Issues Staff
Geithner is president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He joined the Department of the Treasury in 1988 and has served three presidents.
Kirk served as the mayor of Dallas from 1995 to 2001, and in 1994, he served as the Texas Secretary of State. He is a former Dallas assistant city attorney for governmental relations and served as aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen.
Mills has been a principal in the private equity and venture-capital industry since 1983. Mills was a co-founder and managing director of Solera Capital and chief operating officer of E.S. Jacobs and Company. Mills chairs Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy.
Schapiro is chief executive officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business with the U.S. public. Schapiro also serves as chairman of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
Gensler served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001, and as assistant secretary of the Treasury from 1997 to 1999. From 1988 to 1997, Gensler was a partner of The Goldman Sachs Group, LP, where he served in various capacities including co-head of Finance, responsible for controllers and treasury worldwide.
Tarullo is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaches and writes in the areas of banking law, international economic regulation, and economic policy-making. Tarullo held several senior positions in the Clinton administration, ultimately as assistant to the president for International Economic Policy.
Volcker has served under five presidents of both parties in a life committed to public service. He was chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987. Prior to that, he served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs.
Goolsbee is the Robert P. Gwinn professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has taught since 1995.
Orszag currently serves as the director of the Congressional Budget Office, overseeing the agency’s work in providing objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses of economic and budgetary issues — supervising the numerous analytical papers and cost estimates that the agency produces and, to present the results, frequently testifying before the Congress.
Nabors currently serves as clerk and staff director of the House Appropriations Committee. He is responsible for the hiring and direction of the majority of the committee staff and for recommending overall legislative strategies with respect to discretionary spending to committee Democrats and the House Democratic leadership.
Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University professor at Harvard University. Summers served as 71st secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006.
Romer is the Class of 1957 professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught and researched since 1988.
Energy and Environmental Staff
Chu is director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at University of California, Berkeley. Winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997, Chu served on the technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs (1978–1987) and was a professor in the Physics and Applied Physics Departments at Stanford University (1987–2004).
Jackson became the head of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection in 2006. She had previously served as DEP deputy commissioner before being appointed to the post by Gov. Jon Corzine, and currently serves as Corzine’s chief of staff.
Sutley is the deputy mayor for energy and environment for Los Angeles. She has previously served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, as energy adviser to Gov. Gary Davis. During the Clinton administration, Sutley was a senior policy adviser to the regional administrator for EPA, Region 9 in San Francisco and a special assistant to the administrator at the federal EPA in Washington, D.C.
Browner is principal of The Albright Group LLC, where she provides strategic counsel in the critical areas of environmental protection, climate change, and energy conservation and security. Prior to her current position, she served as EPA administrator, a Cabinet-level position she held for eight years. She also served as legislative director for then-Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.).
Zichal served as the policy director for Energy, Environment and Agriculture for Obama’s presidential campaign. Prior, she served as the legislative director to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) where she coordinated domestic and foreign policy.
Klain has served in all three branches of the federal government. Klain previously worked for Sen. Joe Biden as chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Blinken was appointed staff director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2002. From 1994 to 2001, Blinken served on the National Security Council staff at the White House. He has been a reporter for The New Republic magazine and has written about foreign policy for numerous publications, including The New York Times and Foreign Affairs Magazine.
Brian McKeon, Deputy National Security Adviser to the Vice President
McKeon has worked for Biden for more than 20 years, advising him on foreign affairs, national security issues and legal matters. McKeon was most recently deputy staff director and chief counsel at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he has worked since 1997 under Biden.
Hogan has been a legal adviser to Biden for nearly 20 years, first joining his staff in 1991 as his counsel for constitutional law on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, then as staff director and finally as chief counsel, during his tenure as chairman.
Vela served as chief financial officer and senior adviser on Hispanic affairs for Vice President Al Gore from 1996 to 2000. Most recently, Vela was the founder and a partner at The Comunidades Group, a multifamily acquisition and operations company headquartered in Denver.
Elisabeth Hire, Director of Scheduling
Hire was director of scheduling to Sen. Joe Biden during the Obama-Biden campaign. Hire also served as the deputy director of scheduling for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign; scheduled for Kerry/Edwards 2004; and served on the advance staff of Kerry/Edwards 2004 and Gore/Lieberman 2000.
Pete Selfridge, Director of Advance
Pete Selfridge served as deputy director of advance for sen. Joe Biden the Obama-Biden campaign. Prior to joining the Obama-Biden campaign, he served as the City Director in Los Angeles for the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative.
Sam Myers Sr., Trip Director for the Vice President
Myers worked as a press logistics liaison aboard Vice Presidential candidate sen. Joe Biden’s campaign plane. Before joining the Obama-Biden campaign, Myers worked with the media covering Sen. Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign. Myers also served as the press logistics liaison for President Bill Clinton.
Carlos E. Elizondo, Residence Manager and Social Secretary for the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden
Elizondo most recently served as senior director of presidential events at Georgetown University where he managed more than 150 events annually on behalf of the president of the university, including conferences, dinners, lectures and honorary degree ceremonies. During the Clinton administration, Elizondo was an appointee in the Office of the U.S. Chief of Protocol.
Norris joined Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007 and served as the Iowa senior adviser during the caucus campaign, later serving as the Iowa state director. She once was Vice President Al Gore’s scheduler and events planner. She also served as director of scheduling and advance for HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo.
Winter has served in several different capacities, most recently as Michelle Obama’s traveling chief of staff. Winter was traveling aide for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) during his 2000 vice-presidential run.
Johnston is the former director of communications for Tipper Gore. Most recently, Johnston worked as a communications consultant for the Entertainment Industry Foundation on the Stand Up To Cancer campaign. Prior to this, Johnston was the senior vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
McCormick Lelyveld joined the Obama campaign in March 2007 as Michelle Obama’s director of communications. Previously, she served as deputy communications director for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)’s presidential campaign in 2004.
Mustaphi served as Michelle Obama’s deputy communications director on the Obama-Biden presidential campaign. She has held communications positions on Capitol Hill.
Dr. Jill Biden’s Staff
Russell is a long time adviser to Jill Biden and advocate for the prevention of violence against women, both at home and abroad.
Courtney O’Donnell, Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden
O’Donnell has served as director of marketing and formerly deputy communications director at the William J. Clinton Foundation since 2005. In the 2004 presidential cycle, Courtney served as deputy communications director and spokeswoman for Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.
Anthony Bernal, Director of Scheduling for Dr. Jill Biden
Bernal was director of scheduling to Jill Biden on during the Obama-Biden campaign. Bernal served President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in their respective offices of scheduling and advance.