McKinsey executive to take OMB's top management slot

revolving door

President Obama tapped longtime McKinsey and Company executive Beth Cobert as his nominee to serve as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. Cobert has worked in various positions at McKinsey since 1984. According to a brief biography supplied by the White House, Cobert is McKinsey's Global Leader for Functional Capability Building, responsible for training the firm's 9,000-strong consulting staff. She also plays a leading role in the firm's sales and marketing practice, and is the chair of McKinsey's pension fund.

Throughout Cobert's career at the consulting firm, she has specialized in financial services, telecommunications and healthcare, with an emphasis on marketing and strategy. She currently works in McKinsey's San Francisco office.

In her new post, Cobert will be charged with leading Obama's planned data-driven management agenda, which was announced in July. The influential post includes oversight of a huge swath of federal policy and management, including personnel management and performance, IT investments, e-Government, financial management and procurement policy. The job has been held in an acting capacity since Jeffrey Zients left the post to serve as acting OMB director in January 2012.

Cobert's future boss, OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, did a stint as an associate at McKinsey from 1990 to 1992, before joining the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration. Assuming she is confirmed, Cobert will take over for Steven VanRoekel, who is doing double duty as federal CIO and acting deputy director for management.

In an emailed statement, Burwell said she was "incredibly pleased" by Cobert's appointment. She also thanked VanRoekel for his stint in the top management job, and for his work on Obama's new management agenda. "I look forward to working with Steve in the months ahead in continuing the progress we're making on the Administration's tech agenda as well as the development of the Second Term Management Agenda to make our government more efficient and effective, delivering impact to communities across the country," Burwell said.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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