Jeff Zients: 5 things to know about Biden’s new chief of staff


Jeff Zients, who’s developed a reputation as “Mr. Fix-It,” is expected to become President Joe Biden’s next chief of staff after holding a number of high-level positions across the Obama and Biden presidencies.

From a failed attempt to purchase the Washington Nationals to investing in the Call Your Mother bagel shop, here are five things to know about Biden’s next chief of staff.

Zients headed Biden’s Covid task force

Zients served as the White House’s Covid-19 coordinator until he left last April. While Zients is not a scientist, he came to the task force with a range of management experience and was charged with working across government agencies to curtail the coronavirus outbreak.

Zients won internal praise for his management skills and initial success in bringing the pandemic under control.

He was the first chief performance officer in the Office of Management and Budget

In 2009, then-President Barack Obama created a position for Zients in the Office of Management and Budget called chief performance officer. The role required Zients to head an effort to streamline government and cut costs.

Zients invested in Call Your Mother bagels

Zients was known to have invested in D.C.’s popular “Jew-ish” deli Call Your Mother. Zients also acted as “adviser and mentor” for the bagel shop, where a lot of the recipe tasting took place in his home.

He unsuccessfully competed for ownership of the Washington Nationals

In 2005, Zients was part of a group of investors that included Fred Malek and Colin Powell, who tried to buy the Washington Nationals the first time around but lost out to the Lerner family.

He made Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40 list

In 2002, Zients was ranked 25th on Fortune magazine’s list of the 40 richest Americans under age 40. At the time, the magazine estimated his wealth at $149 million, leaving him one place above Julia Roberts and two behind Elon Musk.

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