Skip to main content
US President Joe Biden, with Cabinet members, signs an executive order on delivering the Government services and experience the American people expect and deserve during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 13 December 2021.No Use Germany.
Report

Tracking turnover in the Biden administration

The rate of turnover among senior-level executive branch staff can have a serious impact on the day-to-day performance of the White House—and shape the very nature of a presidency. As Brookings did for Donald Trump, the Institution is now monitoring staffing changes among the upper echelons of President Biden’s administration.

Below, we offer two sets of resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources, immediately below, tracks turnover among senior-ranking advisers in the executive office of the president (which does not include Cabinet secretaries); the second set of resources tracks turnover in the Cabinet.

Turnover on President Biden’s “A-Team”

President Biden’s “A-Team” turnover is 15% as of May 13, 2022.

The following chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president. This data is compiled and tracked by Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, who refers to this group of advisers as the president’s “A-Team.” The list of positions that make up the “A-Team” is based on National Journal “Decision Makers” editions, and Tenpas’s methodology is described in detail in a related piece published in January 2022. The chart and table below will be updated as additional members of the “A-Team” depart their positions. It is important to note the following:

  • Because the “A-Team” is made up of members of the executive office of the president, it does not include Cabinet secretaries. Information on the Cabinet is available below.
  • Each position on the “A-Team” is only counted once. If multiple people hold and depart from the same position, only the initial departure is tracked/affects the turnover rate.
  • The count for turnover among Joe Biden’s administration is ongoing.

Summary of “A-Team” turnover in the Biden administration

Set out below is a list of the senior-level departures from the executive office of the president since the beginning of the Biden administration (each of the 66 “A-Team” positions is only counted once toward the turnover rate, thus, this chart only includes the first person to hold/depart a given position).

Year Position Name Nature of departure Date of departure* Prior job Where to? Successor
1 Deputy Press Secretary; Special Assistant to the President TJ Ducklo Resigned under pressure 2/13/21 NBC News Risa Heller Communications Chris Meagher
1 Chief Strategist; Senior Advisor to the President Anita Dunn Resigned 8/14/21 SKDK SKDK None (temporary position)
1 White House Staff Secretary; Deputy Assistant to the President Jessica Hertz Resigned 10/22/21 Facebook Shopify Neera Tanden
1 Director, White House Office of Presidential Personnel; Assistant to the President Cathy Russell Resigned 12/10/21* Unknown UNICEF Gautam Raghavan
1 Chief of Staff to the First Lady; Assistant to the President Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon Promoted 12/18/21 Winston and Strawn LLP Ambassador to Spain Unknown
2 Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy Eric Lander Resigned under pressure 2/18/22 The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Unknown Unknown
2 National Security Advisor to the Vice President Nancy McEldowney Resigned 3/20/22 Biden transition team Unknown Philip Gordon
2 Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response; Counselor to the President Jeff Zients Resigned 4/5/22 Cranemere Group Unknown Ashish K. Jha
2 Deputy Director of Communications; Special Assistant to the President Pili Tobar Resigned 5/2/22 Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign Unknown Unknown
2 Press Secretary; Assistant to the President Jen Psaki Resigned 5/13/22 The Biden transition team MSNBC Karin Jean-Pierre
SUMMARY: 10/66 (15%) “A-Team” positions have turned over.
* Author’s note: In some cases, the exact date of an individual’s departure was unable to be determined. In those circumstances, the date of the individual’s departure announcement was used and is indicated by an asterisk (*).
Sources: Multiple news websites, LinkedIn, WhiteHouse.gov, and other government websites.

 

Turnover within President Biden’s Cabinet

The chart and table below are dedicated to tracking turnover in the Cabinet. They will be updated as additional turnover occurs. Unlike the trackers above dedicated to the president’s “A-Team,” these resources look at every departure from the president’s Cabinet, even if multiple people have occupied the same position.

Summary of Cabinet departures in the Biden administration

Set out below is a list of departures from the president’s Cabinet since the beginning of the Biden administration.

Year Position Name Nature of Departure Date of Departure Prior Job Where to? Successor
No turnover among Joe Biden’s Cabinet has occurred yet.
Sources: Agency websites, presidential library websites, and various news sources.

Viewed as a leading, independent voice in the domestic policymaking sphere, the Governance Studies program at Brookings is dedicated to analyzing policy issues, political institutions and processes, and contemporary governance challenges. Our scholarship identifies areas in need of reform and proposes specific solutions to improve governance worldwide, but with a particular emphasis on the United States.

More

Get daily updates from Brookings