This profile contains Biden Administration nominations and appointments made at independent agencies of the United States government.
Nominations and Appointments
Michael D. Smith is Chief Executive Officer of AmeriCorps (officially the Corporation for National and Community Service). He most recently served as Executive Director of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and as Director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. During the Obama Administration, Smith was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, as well as director of the Social Innovation Fund at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Before that, he was Senior Vice President of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation. He is a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America alumni hall of fame and has served on the board of directors of Results for America and Venture Philanthropy Partners.
Central Intelligence Agency
William J. Burns is Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He formerly served as President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Before that, he was Deputy Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State from 2011-2014, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008-2011, Ambassador to Russia from 2005-2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001-2005, and Ambassador to Jordan from 1998-2001.
Director of National Intelligence
Avril Haines is Director of National Intelligence. She formerly held various positions at Columbia University, including Senior Research Scholar, was a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and a member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. During the Obama Administration, she served as National Security Council Legal Advisor, as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013-2015, and as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from 2015-2017. She was Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 2007-2008, while then-Senator Biden served as Chair. She has been a Distinguished Fellow at Syracuse University’s Institute for Security Policy and Law, a board member at the Center for a New American Security, an advisory board member at Foreign Policy for America, an advisory council member at Refugees International, and a member of the Bio Advisory Group at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She has also served on the board of trustees at the Vodafone Foundation, and as a member of the advisory council of National Security Action.
As reported by The Intercept, Haines’s biography from her time as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution listed her as a consultant for Palantir Technologies, and she was also a former Principal at WestExec Advisors, LLC. The archived biography from Brookings also lists additional affiliations, including as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Encryption Working Group, an advisory council member of Network 20/20, an international advisory board member at Tikehau Investment Management, co-chair of the Simon Skojdt Center for the Prevention of Genocide Advisory Group at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Geopolitics.
Environmental Protection Agency
Radhika Fox is Assistant Administrator for Water. She formerly served as Chief Executive Officer of the US Water Alliance. Before that, she directed the policy and government affairs agenda for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and served as Federal Policy Director at PolicyLink.
Michal Freedhoff is Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She most recently served as Minority Director of Oversight on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since February 2017, and has served on the staffs of the U.S. House Science Committee, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the House Natural Resources Committee. Beginning in 1996, she was a Congressional Science and Engineering fellow in the office of then-Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA).
Janet McCabe is Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. She was formerly the director of Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and a professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI. During the Obama Administration, she served as Acting Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA from July 2013 to January 2017, and was Principal Deputy in that office from 2009 to 2013. She also formerly served as air director at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
McCabe was confirmed in a 52-42 vote in the Senate, with some Senators expressing concern over her role in developing the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was a regulation targeting carbon emissions from power plants.
Michael S. Regan is Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He had previously served as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017. Before that, he was Associate Vice President of U.S. Climate and Energy and Southeast Regional Director at the Environmental Defense Fund, and also worked at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He has served as a board member or commissioner at the University of North Carolina School of Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics, Green 2.0 (officially the Green Diversity Initiative), the North Carolina Commission on Global Climate Change, the North Carolina Energy Policy Council, and as an executive steering committee member of Envision Charlotte.
Federal Trade Commission
Lina Khan is Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. She was most recently an associate professor at Columbia Law School. Before that, she was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, served as legal advisor to commissioner Rohit Chopra at the Federal Trade Commission, and was legal director at the Open Markets Institute.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Bill Nelson is Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Nelson served as a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from Florida from 2001 to 2019, and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s 11th District from 1983 to 1991 and for Florida’s 9th District from 1979 to 1983. While serving as a member of the House in 1986, Nelson flew as a payload specialist on the space shuttle Columbia. His nomination was largely uncontroversial and he was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate.
National Labor Relations Board
Jennifer Abruzzo is General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). She most recently served as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives at the Communications Workers of America, and before that was Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel at the NLRB during the Obama Administration.
Office of Personnel Management
Kiran Ahuja is Director of the Office of Personnel Management. She was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Philanthropy Northwest. During the Obama Administration, she served as chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management and as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has served on the boards of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), the United Philanthropy Forum, and the Wing Luke Museum. From 2003 to 2008, she was the founding Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Ahuja was narrowly confirmed by a 51-50 party-line vote in the U.S. Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. Republicans opposed her nomination due to her ties to critical race theory. According to Fox News, “Ahuja hosted critical race theory and anti-racism activist Ibram X. Kendi for an event with Philanthropy Northwest.”
Caroline Ciccone is Communications Director at the Office of Personnel Management. She formerly served as the Executive Director of Accountable.US. Before that, she was Managing Principal at Precision Strategies from 2017-2018, and the Executive Director of Americans United for Change from 2014-2017. During the Obama Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Communications & Public Liaison at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Earlier in her career, she was Deputy Communications Director at the Democratic National Committee, as well as Deputy Press Secretary for then-U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Ciccone’s background as Executive Director of Accountable.US attracted some controversy after her appointment to the Office of Personnel Management. The Washington Free Beacon noted that Accountable.US had co-authored “An Open Letter to America’s CEOs” in which it called on American business leaders “to make it clear that you will not hire for employment, contract for consulting, or seat on your boards any senior-level official from the Trump administration that has participated in undermining our democracy, endorsing violent extremism, or tearing families apart.”
David Marsh is senior advisor to the Chief of Staff at the Office of Personnel Management. He was formerly a senior manager for state and federal policy at the Markle Foundation, and also worked on criminal justice reform at the Pew Charitable Trusts. During the Obama Administration, he served from 2015 to 2017 in the Office of Management and Budget and in the Office of Personnel Management. Marsh was an organizer for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Colorado.
Securities and Exchange Commission
Gary Gensler is Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He formerly served as a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. During the Obama Administration, he was Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He also formerly served as a Senior Advisor to former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Gensler has also worked on several Democratic political campaigns, including serving as an economic advisor on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, as a senior advisor on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, and as Chief Financial Officer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. From 1979-1997 he worked at Goldman Sachs. He has been a member of the New York Fed Fintech Advisory Group and Chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission.
Gensler was confirmed by a 53-45 vote in the Senate, with some Republicans voicing reservations about his approach to ESG Activism. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) expressed concern that Gensler would “cause the SEC to use its regulatory powers to advance a liberal social agenda focused on issues such as global warming, political spending disclosures, and racial inequality and diversity.”
Satyam Khanna is Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and ESG at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He formerly served as a resident fellow at New York University School of Law’s Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance, and as a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee. Prior to that, he was Counsel to former SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson. He has also been a fellow at Columbia Law School, an advisor at the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, an attorney at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, and a research assistant to Evercore founder and senior chairman Roger Altman.
Small Business Administration
Isabel Guzman is Administrator of the Small Business Administration. She most recently served as Director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. During the Obama Administration, she was Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Prior to that, she was an advisor to ProAmerica Bank.
U.S. Agency for International Development
Gillian Caldwell is chief climate officer and deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She formerly served as chief executive officer of the nonprofit Global Witness, and from 2007 to 2010 was the director of 1Sky, which she helped launch. Before that, she served as executive director of the nonprofit WITNESS. Prior to joining the Biden Administration, Caldwell operated a consulting business with numerous clients including the Center for Community Change, Color of Change, Common Cause, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Open Society Foundations, the Wallace Global Fund, and Arabella Advisors. She has served on the board of directors of EarthRights International.
Samantha Power is Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She was most recently a professor at Harvard Law School and at Harvard Kennedy School. During the Obama Administration, she served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, she served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Before entering government, she was the founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Power was a foreign policy advisor on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, but resigned after referring to then-campaign rival Hillary Clinton as a “monster” during an interview. Power has expressed regret for the comment, and apologized publicly and to Clinton personally. She was a former member of the advisory council of National Security Action.
U.S. Postal Service
Amber McReynolds is a member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. McReynolds is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Vote at Home Institute and the National Vote at Home Coalition. She formerly served as Director of Elections for the city of Denver, Colorado. She is a member of the board of directors of RepresentWomen, and was a panelist at Democracy Alliance’s Fall 2018 conference.