Barack Obama photo

Press Release: Additional White House Staff Announced

January 05, 2009

Washington—Today, President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden announced the following White House staff: Don Gips, White House Director of Presidential Personnel, Bradley J. Kiley, Director of the Office of Management and Administration, Susan Sher, Associate Counsel to the President, Brian McKeon, Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, Courtney O'Donnell, Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden, Carlos E. Elizondo, Residence Manager and Social Secretary for the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden and Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer.

President-elect Obama said, "I am honored to have this talented group of individuals joining my staff. They bring diverse backgrounds and unique perspectives to our team. I am confident that the American people will benefit from their experience and expertise and Vice President-elect Biden and I look forward to seeking their advice and counsel as we work to move our country forward."

Vice President-elect Biden said, "Brian McKeon has been an integral part of my staff for over 20 years. He is an expert among experts in the national security field and one of the finest lawyers I've ever known. He has unimpeachable integrity and his continued counsel will be an invaluable addition to the Obama-Biden Administration. Dr. Biden and I are also looking forward to working with Courtney O'Donnell and Carlos Elizondo and we are grateful for their commitment to public service."

The following announcements were made today:

Don Gips, White House Director of Presidential Personnel

Gips is on the Advisory Board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project and is Co-Director of the Agency Review Working Group. Gips has been asked to set up the office and manage the huge challenges of the initial staffing. This is similar to the role he played in helping Obama assemble his United States Senate staff. He is currently on leave from his role as Group Vice President of Global Corporate Development at Level 3 Communications, where he leads merger and acquisition efforts and is the Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining Level 3, Gips served in the White House as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Gore. Previously, Gips was Chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission where he was responsible for the WTO negotiations and all spectrum policy. Gips also helped launch the Americorps Program at the Corporation for National Service. Before entering government, he was an Executive Manager at McKinsey & Company.

Bradley J. Kiley, Director of the Office of Management and Administration

Kiley is currently the Director of Operations for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Previously, Kiley served as Vice President of finance and operations at the Center for American Progress. Kiley served as deputy assistant to the president for management and administration at the White House under President William J. Clinton. There he was responsible for all aspects of White House operations, including the travel office, the visitor's office, and White House administration, which included finance, human resources and facilities. Among his many earlier roles with the Democratic National Committee, Kiley served as director of finance and administration for the 1996 Democratic National Convention. He has also held in leadership positions at NARAL and the International AIDS Trust. Kiley is a graduate of Texas Christian University.

Susan Sher, Associate Counsel to the President

Sher will be Associate Counsel to the President. Her duties will include providing legal advice to the First Lady and working on legal issues associated with health care policy. Sher is currently the Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs and General Counsel of the University of Chicago Medical Center and is responsible for all legal, government, regulatory, and community affairs at the Medical Center. She also works on governance and many other Board related issues. From 1993 through 1997 she was the Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago, the City of Chicago's chief lawyer, reporting to the Mayor and responsible for representing the Mayor, city departments, boards, and commissions on all legal matters. She was the first Assistant Corporation Counsel from 1989-1993. Previously she was Associate General Counsel of the University of Chicago, and earlier, was a partner at Mayer Brown & Platt, specializing in Labor and Litigation. She is a cum laude graduate of Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. She is currently on the following Boards of Directors: Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mt. Sinai Hospital Medical Center & Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital & Care Network; the Board of Directors of High Jump; the Board of Directors of YWCA of Greater Chicago. She is Past Chair of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and of The Chicago Network. She is on a variety of task forces and committees involving not-for-profit corporations and healthcare, including the Illinois Hospital Association, the Attorney General's Charitable Advisory Task Force and the Donor's Public Trust Task Force.

Brian McKeon, Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President

McKeon has worked for Vice President-elect Biden for over 20 years, advising him on foreign affairs, national security issues and legal matters. McKeon is currently on the Presidential Transition's State Department Agency Review Team and was most recently Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he has worked since 1997 under Senator Biden. This was his second tour of duty with the Senator; he served in Biden's personal office from 1985 to 1995 in various capacities, including seven years as legislative assistant for foreign policy and defense. In between his service in the Senate, McKeon served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar, and on the Clinton-Gore '96 campaign. A native of Auburn, NY, McKeon is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University Law Center.

Courtney O'Donnell, Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden

Courtney O'Donnell has served as Director of Marketing and formerly Deputy Communications Director at the William J. Clinton Foundation since 2005. In the 2004 presidential cycle, Courtney served as Deputy Communications Director and spokesperson for Governor Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Prior to her work in politics, Courtney worked in brand strategy for several years as a consultant for Interbrand in New York City. O'Donnell, originally from St. Louis, MO, graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University.

Carlos E. Elizondo, Residence Manager and Social Secretary for the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden

Carlos Elizondo most recently served as Senior Director of Presidential Events at Georgetown University where he managed more than 150 events annually on behalf of the President of the University, including conferences, dinners, lectures and honorary degree ceremonies. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, Mr. Elizondo was an appointee in the Office of the U.S. Chief of Protocol. Elizondo hails from Harlingen, Texas and graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer

Souza is a freelance photographer and currently an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication. He has worked as an Official White House Photographer for President Reagan, a freelancer for National Geographic, and as the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau. Souza's latest book, "The Rise of Barack Obama" was published in July 2008. Souza extensively documented Obama's first year in the Senate and accompanied Obama to seven countries including Kenya, South Africa and Russia. Souza produced and published "Unguarded Moments: Behind-the-Scenes Photographs of President Reagan" and "Images of Greatness: An Intimate Look at the Presidency of Ronald Reagan." Souza has won numerous photojournalism awards including several times in the prestigious Pictures of the Year annual competition, the NPPA's Best of Photojournalism, and the White House News Photographers Association's yearly contest. Souza has had solo exhibits and has been part of group exhibits across the country. A native of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Souza graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in public communication from Boston University and received his master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kansas State University.

Barack Obama, Press Release: Additional White House Staff Announced Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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