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Inside Man: Indian American Gautam Raghavan Promoted to Head White House Office of Presidential Personnel

Inside Man: Indian American Gautam Raghavan Promoted to Head White House Office of Presidential Personnel

  • The Washington insider has served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the PPO since Jan. 20, 2020.

Indian American Gautam Raghavan has been promoted to a key position in the White House. On Dec. 10, President Biden named Raghavan as head of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel (PPO). The Washington insider has served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the PPO since Jan. 20, 2020. He was the first one hired by the Biden-Harris Transition Team where he served as deputy head of Presidential Appointments.

In announcing Raghavan’s appointment, Biden said he will replace Cathy Russell, who will be appointed as the next executive director of UNICEF. “I am also pleased that Gautam Raghavan, who has worked in tandem with Cathy from Day One, will become PPO’s new director — a seamless transition that will enable us to continue building a federal workforce that is efficient, effective, dependable and diverse,” Biden said in a statement.

Raghavan becomes “the first AAPI person to lead this office”, and “continue to open doors of opportunity for thousands of diverse and purpose-driven public servants,” the AAPI Victory Fund tweeted. 

Before joining the transition, Raghavan was the chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He joined Jayapal in December 2018, after she was re-elected to a second term with a whopping majority. 

Before that, Raghavan worked as a consultant with GR Strategies in Washington, D.C. According to his LinkedIn profile, he “provided policy analysis and strategic guidance to progressive organizations focused on securing political power and social change, including the Indian American Impact Project & Fund, Biden Foundation, the Asian American & Pacific Islander Victory Fund, Out2Enroll, GLAAD, and SocialMovements.org.” 

From 2014 to 2017, he served as vice president of Policy for the Gill Foundation, where he managed multi-million-dollar investments in federal and state-level policy advocacy focused on equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans. 

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From 2011 to 2014, he served as President Barack Obama’s liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Before that, he was the Acting White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. 

A first-generation immigrant, Raghavan was born in India, raised in Seattle, and graduated from Stanford University. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his husband and their daughter.

(Top photo, courtesy of Victory Institute)

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