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Biden to name Jeff Zients as chief of staff, source says



FILE PHOTO: White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients delivers remarks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will name as his chief of staff Jeff Zients, a former White House pandemic policy coordinator, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The Washington Post earlier reported the decision.

Ron Klain, Biden’s current chief of staff, plans to leave his post in the coming weeks, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Zients served as the White House COVID coordinator from the start of the Biden administration in early 2021 through April of last year. He was credited with overseeing and implementing Biden’s efforts to get Americans vaccinated, but also faced criticism that the administration did not do enough early on to boost testing capacity.

Zients also served as an economic adviser to President Barack Obama’s administration, in which Biden served as vice president.

The White House had no immediate comment.

Zients’s return to the White House would come as Biden prepares to declare his intention to seek a second four-year term in 2024, a move anticipated after the State of the Union address next month.

The chief of staff position, considered one of the most important at the White House, is the senior political appointee responsible for driving the president’s policy agenda and ensuring appropriate staff members are hired.

The job can have a high burnout rate as the long days pile up. Biden’s predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, went through four chiefs of staff in four years.