Indian-American CEO of Democratic National Committee Stepping Down

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Seema Nanda, CEO of the Democratic National Committee. (Photo: DNC)

Seema Nanda, the CEO of the Democratic National Committee, announced April 24, 2020, that she will be stepping down from the position she has held for the last two years. She was the first Indian-American to hold such a top position in a national party.

“After two years, I will be stepping down as CEO of the DNC. I couldn’t be prouder of the infrastructure we have built, the primary process we have run, and the team we have built. I look forward to continuing the fight for our democracy and to elect Democrats everywhere,” Nanda tweeted.

According to The Washington Post, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was instrumental in removing Nanda and overhauling the leadership of the DNC to step up fundraising.

The Democratic Party has been having trouble fundraising, as well as considerable internal struggle with the numerous candidates, until  Biden emerged as the presumptive nominee, just as the COVID-19 pandemic took over everyday life and politics, as well as having disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.

“Former   vice president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign installed new administrative leadership at the Democratic National Committee on Friday, as the two organizations moved to forge a new deal that will allow for a dramatic expansion of fundraising capacity in the coming months,| the Post reported.

Nanda is being replaced by Mary Beth Cahill, who previously managed Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Cahill helped select Nanda as CEO two years ago, the news report said. The DNC has formed a joint fundraising committee with the Biden campaign.

Prior to becoming CEO of the DNC, Nanda served at the vice president of the National Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the largest rights organization in the U.S., where she oversaw strategy and managed day-to-day operations.

Before joining the NCCHR, Nanda was at the U.S. Department of Labor for several years, first as a Deputy Chief and then  as the Chief of Staff to then  Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who is currently the chair of the DNC. At the Labor Department, Nanda managed a portfolio that included immigration, workforce development, and internal management issues.

According to the DNC’s 2018 press release, it took a five-month search led by then CEO of  DNC, Cahill, to decide on Nanda.

At that time, Perez said about Nanda, “I’ve seen firsthand Seema’s exceptional ability to lead. She is a seasoned manager who has a proven track record of success and a well-documented history of fighting for our Democratic values, whether it’s on immigration, civil rights or leveling the playing field for our workers.” Nanda called it “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

After Nanda announced she is stepping down, Perez tweeted, “I can’t thank Seema enough for all she has done to move our party and our country forward, and I will continue to rely on her guidance and support as we work to elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.” Nanda did not indicate where she will move to next in this election cycle.

Prior to the Labor Department, Nanda was in the Department of Justice in its Civil Rights Division, starting as a Senior Trial Attorney in July 2010, and moving up to Deputy Special Counsel.

She earned her JD from Boston College Law School, and is a graduate of Brown University.

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