Leadership

Zients to head Obama's economic team

Jeffrey Zients

Jeffrey Zients joined the Obama administration in 2009 as deputy director for management and chief performance officer at OMB.

Jeffrey Zients, a former acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, is rejoining President Barack Obama’s economic team as director of the National Economic Council. He will replace Gene Sperling, who has been in the post since 2011 and plans to leave at the end of this year.

Zients jointed the administration in 2009 as deputy director for management and chief performance officer at OMB. He is best known in the federal IT community for his plan to reform the way government acquires and uses technology, launched in conjunction with then-CIO Vivek Kundra. Among other things, the plan instituted the federal "cloud first" policy and launched TechStat, the precursor to the PortfolioStat reviews that grade the performance of federal agency and component CIOs.

As head of the National Economic Council, Zients will be charged with coordinating economic advice from various sources to the president, and tracking the implementation of economic policy. The post does not require confirmation by the Senate.

"Jeff has a sterling reputation as a business leader, and he earned the admiration and respect of everyone he worked with during his four years in leadership positions at the Office of Management and Budget," Obama said in a statement.

Before joining the administration, Zients was CEO and chairman of the Advisory Board Company and chairman of the Corporate Executive Board, two business consulting firms founded by entrepreneur David Bradley. He also served stints at consultancies Mercer and Bain.

Zients left the administration when current OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell was confirmed in April of this year. Since then, he was worked as managing director of Portfolio Logic Management, a Washington, D.C., health care investment firm he founded.

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 roles 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 About.com 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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Reader comments

Sat, Sep 14, 2013

Given the track record of the 25 Point Plan to Reform Federal IT and the way it was implemented (forced) one can only guess that the future initiatives of the National Economic Council will posed and ignore due to shortsightedness and impracticality. Kundra, and by implication Zients, did not have the best reputation with his "pie-in-the-sky" claims related to Cloud that have yet to be realized or embraced (for good reason).

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