THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PANETTA ANNOUNCES WHITE HOUSE APPOINTMENTS
Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta today announced that the President has made the following appointments to the White House staff:
Kathryn O'Leary (Kitty) Higgins, currently Chief of Staff at the Department of Labor, will be the new Cabinet Secretary, with the title of Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs. Prior to her Labor Department appointment, Higgins served as chief of staff for Representative Sander M. Levin. She has also served as Democratic staff director for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, as a member of the White House domestic policy staff in the Carter Administration. Higgins holds a B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska.
Bob J. Nash, who serves now as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Economic and Community Development, has been named Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel. Immediately prior to his position at the Department of Agriculture, Nash was Associate Director of Personnel at the White House. Nash has also served as president of the Arkansas State Development Finance Authority, as senior executive assistant for economic development in the office of then-Governor Clinton, and as vice president of the Winthrop Rockefeller foundation in Little Rock. He earned a B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Masters degree in urban studies from Howard University.
Nash replaces J. Veronica Biggins, who has informed the President that she is resigning to return to her home in Atlanta.
Rahm Emanuel, now an Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications, has been appointed to the new position of Director of Special Projects. In his current position, he coordinated White House efforts to enact the NAFTA and crime legislation, and he will continue to coordinate such efforts. He will remain an Assistant to the President. Emanuel's prior positions include White House Political Director, Co-executive Director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Finance Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Finance Director of Clinton for President, and National Campaign Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Emanuel holds a bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters degree in speech and communications from Northwestern University.
John B. Emerson, who is currently a Deputy Assistant to the President and who coordinated the White House effort to enact the GATT legislation, has been named Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. He will have responsibility for working with the nation's governors and lieutenant governors. Prior to his current position, Emerson served as the White House Deputy Director of Personnel. He was California campaign director for the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. Emerson has served as chief deputy and chief of staff to the Los Angeles City Attorney, and he is a former partner in the Los Angeles law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He earned a B.A. from Hamilton College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.
Stephen B. Silverman, currently a Special Assistant to the President and acting Cabinet Secretary, will resume his role as Deputy Cabinet Secretary, with the title Deputy Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs. Silverman served in a number of positions on the Clinton/Gore national campaign. Prior to his White House position, he practiced law in New York. He earned a B.A. from Cornell and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.
The appointments of Higgins, Nash, and Silverman are effective February 6. The appointments of Emanuel and Emerson are effective immediately.
"As the President works to serve the American people, we continue to put in place the best possible team to support his efforts," Panetta said. "These men and women are the kind of hard- working, experienced, and intelligent people who will make this White House as effective as possible on behalf of the President and the nation."