White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain pitched the idea for the talent search, which will be overseen by two of Biden’s White House interns, Jeff Zients and Natalie Quillian. The pair served in similar roles during the 2020 presidential transition.
Zients and Quillian — who both served in Covid-19 response roles earlier in Biden’s presidency at the White House — will specifically conduct a broad and diverse search for potential candidates from outside the administration to fill Cabinet, vice-Cabinet and senior administration roles. , said the official. They will report to Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel Gautam Raghavan and meet regularly with Klain.
Zients and Quillian will serve as special government employees on a temporary basis and receive no compensation.
The decision to conduct a search, which White House officials say was made with the approval of the president, comes as President Joe Biden enters the middle of his presidency, a time that typically marks changes at all levels of staff in any administration.
Officials have said changes are possible in both the president’s cabinet and his senior White House staff later this year, though no moves are guaranteed.
Biden has already made staff adjustments in the West Wing as Republicans hope to take control of the House of Representatives, including adding lawyers and communications aides to help fend off what could be an onslaught of GOP-led oversight investigations.
Some senior officials, like Covid advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, are preparing to leave soon. Climate envoy John Kerry told CNN that he plans to stay in the administration at least until the next major international climate summit in November, without saying whether he will stay longer.
There has also been a change in the president’s top staff, including in the top positions of the West Wing. His press secretary, White House counsel and senior public engagement adviser left earlier this year. Some officials decided to leave the White House about a year into the administration, while others left in early summer.