Sources: Biden to pick Zients as his next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to name Jeff Zients, who ran the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of Biden’s term, as his next chief of staff, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klain, is preparing to leave the job in the coming weeks.

Since serving as COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term.

The two people familiar with the matter were not authorized to publicly discuss Biden’s plans before an official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Washington Post first reported on Zients’ expected appointment. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Former Boston Mayor and current U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was on the short list of candidates under consideration for the job, according to reports Saturday.

Zients, vice chairman of Biden’s transition operation after his November 2020 election, brings significant managerial expertise in government and the private sector. He was the director of the National Economic Council during the Obama administration and acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

He became known for leading that administration’s effort to repair after the bungled initial rollout of the site in the fall of 2013. Zients also was a top executive at the Advisory Board Company, a Washington consulting firm.

Zients and his deputy on the White House’s pandemic response team, Natalie Quillian, left the Biden administration last April. Biden thanked him for “stunning” and “consequential” progress battling the pandemic.