Biden to nominate Obama alum Ahuja to lead Office of Personnel Management

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President Biden on Tuesday announced his nominee to lead the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that oversees the government’s civilian workforce and that was also a frequent source of controversy during the Trump administration.

Biden will nominate Kiran Ahuja as director of the agency. 

Ahuja previously served as chief of staff at OPM during the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017. Ahuja also worked in the Obama White House as executive director of the Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, doing outreach to those groups. 

She currently serves as the CEO of Philanthropy Northwest. Prior to working in government, she served as the head of the advocacy group National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Ahuja will require Senate confirmation before taking on the role.

“I commend President Biden for continuing to build on his commitment to nominate highly qualified Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to senior roles throughout the federal government, and I know Kiran will be an outstanding member of the Biden Administration,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement.

Beth Cobert, the former acting director of OPM, said in a statement that Ahuja’s experience and “track record of bringing people together to solve difficult problems makes her an excellent choice for this role who will hit the ground running on day one.”

OPM is an independent federal agency tasked with overseeing the federal civilian workforce, which consists of thousands of employees, as well as the hiring process. It has taken on additional importance during the coronavirus pandemic, as OPM offers guidance on telework, benefits and other policies.

The agency was a source of controversy during the Trump administration due to its repeated shuffling of leadership and attempts to shutter the office.

–Updated at 4:05 p.m. 

Tags civilian workforce Joe Biden Judy Chu Obama administration OPM United States Office of Personnel Management

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