Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Who Is Jeffrey Zients?
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Just weeks before his administration was due to submit a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2013, President Barack Obama on January 17 named Jeffrey Zients Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government and offers advice to White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulation, procurement and e-gov. Zients, who worked in the private sector as a management consultant and was Acting OMB Director for three months in 2010, will replace Jack Lew, who left OMB to be the White House Chief of Staff. Because Obama appointed Zients as “Acting” Director, no Senate confirmation is required.
Born in November 1966 in Kensington, Maryland, Zients showed an early predilection for profit, amassing a baseball card collection worth almost $30,000 by the time of his 1984 graduation from the elite St. Albans prep school in Washington, D.C. After earning a B.A. in Political Science at Duke University in 1988, Zients went to work for Bain & Company in Boston, Massachusetts, as a management consultant from August 1988 to June 1990.His time at Bain never coincided with the tenure of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was CEO of Bain from 1991 to 1992.
Zients left Bain in 1990 to join the Advisory Board Company as a lieutenant to the company’s owner and founder, David G. Bradley. By 1996, Zients was chief operating officer, and in 1998 he was named CEO. Over the next three years, Zients led efforts to take two Advisory Board businesses public, raising $245 million in two initial public offerings of stock. These moves put Zients on Fortune magazine’s 2002 list of richest Americans under the age of 40, with a reported net worth of $149 million. In 2001, he was named Chairman of the Advisory Board. In 2004 he left advisory Board after 14 years to head the Washington Baseball Club, an effort to lure a baseball team to Washington, D.C.. However it was a competing ownership group that eventually succeeded in bringing the Montreal Expos to town. Also in 2004, Zients founded Portfolio Logic, a private equity firm that invests in private health-care firms, among other businesses. He worked as its managing director until entering public service.
Zients was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009, as OMB Deputy Director for Management and the nation’s first Federal Chief Performance Officer, positions he has held since that time. He also served as OMB’s acting director from July to November 2010, between the departure of Obama’s first budget director, Peter Orszag, and Jack Lew’s Senate confirmation. Zients also co-founded The Urban Alliance Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with corporations to provide economically disadvantaged youth with year-round paid internships, adult mentors and job training.
A Democrat, Zients has made political contributions totaling $91,600 since 1999, all but $500 of it to Democratic candidates and causes, including $53,500 to the Democratic National Committee, $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $2,300 to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and $4,500 to Barack Obama ($3,500 in 2004 and $1,000 in 2006). The lone Republican donation was $500 to Ohio Senator Mike DeWine in 2003. Zientz and his wife Mary, who met while both were working for Bain in Boston, have four children.
Zients Is at the Top of His Game: Baseball Spokesman Rises to Prominence After a Successful Career (by Annys Shin, Washington Post)
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