Obama Names Former Performance Chief as Top Economic Adviser

J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

President Obama on Friday announced that he has picked his former federal chief performance officer and acting budget director to be his top economic adviser.

Jeffrey Zients will replace Gene Sperling, who spent four years primarily as director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy. Zients, who left the Office of Management and Budget in May, was often tasked with joining Sperling in presenting details of the Obama administration’s budget and economic strategy and was considered the architect of Obama’s first-term management reforms.

“Jeff spent decades as a successful entrepreneur in the private sector,” Obama’s statement said. “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. I am certain that in Jeff’s hands we will continue to have strong leadership of our economic policy team and his advice will be critical as we keep moving this country forward and building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.”

The president also praised Sperling for his work in the position.

“Gene understands better than anybody that our top priority as a nation is making sure that our economy once again works for working Americans,” Obama stated. “Gene’s impact in this administration began at Treasury, where he helped us avoid a second Great Depression and led efforts to pass a Small Business Jobs Act to help entrepreneurs grow. He has been a tireless proponent of efforts to strengthen the recovery and make our tax code more fair, whether in helping to design the payroll tax cut, fighting for job-creating tax credits for tens of millions of hardworking Americans or developing the American Jobs Act. He was central to designing policies to help support the housing recovery and was a driving force behind our manufacturing agenda and our efforts to attract jobs and investment to the United States.”

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