Biden nominates Indian American Kiran Ahuja to lead Office of Personnel Management

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Kiran Ahuja is a former Department of Justice lawyer. (Image Source: Twitter/Kiran Ahuja)

Kiran Arjandas Ahuja served as the Chief of Staff to Director of the Office of Personnel Management from 2015 to 2017.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Indian American lawyer and activist Kiran Arjandas Ahuja to head the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Ahuja is a former US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer and also served as the Chief of Staff to Director of the OPM from 2015 to 2017.

Ahuja would become the first Indian American to serve this top position if she gets confirmed by the Senate. OPM is a federal agency that manages the US civil service. 

Ahuja has more than 20 years of experience in public service and nonprofit sector leadership. Currently, she is the CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional network of philanthropic institutions, which works towards advancing knowledge and action in philanthropy. 

During the Barack Obama administration, Ahuja was the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In her role, she carried out efforts to increase access to federal services, resources, and programs for underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). 

Ahuja started her profession as a civil rights lawyer at the DOJ, disputing school desegregation cases, and filed the department’s first student racial harassment case. She also was a Founding Executive Director of an advocacy organization named National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

In a statement, acting OPM Director Kathleen McGettigan said: “Having worked with Kiran before, I can personally attest to her deep appreciation for the critical role this agency plays in powering a strong federal government and her commitment to empowering the OPM workforce with the tools and support it needs to deliver on its important work.”

Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee Congressman Gerry Connolly also warmly welcomed Ahuja’s nomination. Conolly said: “Ahuja is a well-known and expert leader who will instill stability and confidence in OPM as it recruits, hires, retains and retires our 2.8 million federal employees. I look forward to her swift Senate confirmation, and then getting to the hard work of transforming OPM into the human resources and leadership training organization our nation needs it to be.”

The American Federation of Government Employees and National Treasury Employees Union also appreciated Ahuja’s nomination due to her vast experience in federal personnel policy and commitment to diversity advocacy. 

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