Catherine Russel, the head of the White House personnel office, has been named Executive Director of Unicef, and GautamRaghavan, who is of Indian ancestry, will take her place.
On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named Russel to lead the UN’s arm dedicated to children’s welfare, and almost simultaneously, US President Joe Biden named Raghavan to succeed her in the White House.
Raghavan served as Russell’s deputy at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, which is responsible for vetting and recruiting political appointees for around 4,000 non-career civil service posts.
Raghavan was Biden’s Transition Team’s first employee and served as the deputy head of presidential appointments.
He then rose through the ranks to become deputy director of the personnel office and deputy assistant to the President.
The Stanford University graduate grew up in Seattle and was born in India. He is openly gay and lives in Washington with his husband and daughter.
During former President Barack Obama’s administration, he worked as a liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, in the White House Office of Public Engagement
He has been a member of the Biden Foundation’s advisory board. He previously worked as the head of staff for PramilaJayapal, an Indian-origin Democratic member of the House of Representatives who is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a leftist group of lawmakers.