"He's a proven leader who has an impressive record of success everywhere he's worked," wrote Peter R. Orszag, director of OMB, on his agency blog. "And now, with the Senate's approval, he's ready to bring his talents to public service."
Zients sailed through his confirmation hearing on June 10 and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved his nomination unanimously last week.
A government outsider with no previous federal experience, Zients brings a wealth of private sector acumen to the two roles.
He served as chief executive officer and chairman of the Washington-based Advisory Board Co. and as head of the Corporate Executive Board, a spin-off organization. The firms, which were established by Washington businessman David Bradley, provide best practices and customized market research on health care and financial management. Bradley is the owner of Atlantic Media, the parent company of Government Executive.
Until recently, Zients ran Portfolio Logic, a firm that invests in business services and health care companies.
Zients will have a bevy of issues awaiting him on his first day. He will be charged with establishing a new method for evaluating program performance, helping improve the government's hiring practices, leading an expanded e-government initiative and pushing forward major contract reform. He also will oversee several aspects of economic stimulus implementation, including issuing guidance to agencies and collecting data.
"You can see he'll have a lot on his plate," Orszag said. "Jeff Zients is the right man to take the reins -- an experienced leader who understands how large organizations work and how to drive their performance."