Yet another top post at White House for Indian-American

Gautam Raghavan, former Obama administration official, appointed by President Joe Biden as director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, the President announced Dec. 10, 2021. Photo: Twitter

Gautam Raghavan, formerly a senior liaison at the Obama White House, takes over as head of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, replacing Cathy Russell who has just been named by the United Nation’s Secretary General as his nominee for Executive Director of UNICEF.

President Joe Biden made the announcement Dec. 10, 2021. Extolling the qualifications and 30-year service of Russell, he went on to say, Under Cathy’s leadership, the White House Office of Presidential Personnel (PPO) has broken he was “also pleased that Gautam Raghavan, who has worked in tandem with Cathy from Day One, will become PPO’s new Director — a seamless transition that will enable us to continue building a federal workforce that is efficient, effective, dependable, and diverse.”

A first-generation immigrant, Raghavan was born in India, raised in Seattle, and graduated from Stanford University.

Raghavan has served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel since January 20, 2021. Previously, he was the first employee hired by the Biden-Harris Transition Team where he served as Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments.

He served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and advised organizations focused on advancing civil rights and social justice, serving as an Advisor to the Biden Foundation and as Vice President of Policy for the Gill Foundation.

During the Obama-Biden Administration, Raghavan served in the White House Office of Public Engagement as liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American & Pacific Islander community, as Acting White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense, and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group.

He is the editor of “West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House.” He lives with his husband and their daughter in Washington, D.C.



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