Texas, USA (CU)_ Gautam Raghavan, a homosexual Indian-American who formerly worked in the Obama administration as a liaison to the LGBTQ and Asian-American communities, has been promoted to the position of assistant to the president and head of the Office of Presidential Personnel by President Joe Biden (PPO), making him the top-ranking LGBTQ member of the White House staff.
Raghavan has previously served as the office’s deputy director since President Biden’s inauguration last year. He is now succeeding Catherine Russell, who is joining as executive director at UNICEF, which is the United Nations organization that is dedicated to delivering humanitarian assistance to children worldwide. Russell’s nomination to UNICEF was announced by Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, following which the Biden White House announced Raghavan’s appointment as PPO’s director.
Biden voiced his belief in Raghavan’s skills, highlighting that he had previously worked alongside Russell in his former designation, which allows for a smooth transition. He said, “The seamless transition will enable us to continue building a federal workforce that is efficient, effective, dependable, and diverse.”
Raghavan previously worked for the Biden transition team as deputy head of presidential appointments before being designated as the director of the PPO. He previous designations include chief of staff to United States Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as an adviser to the Biden Foundation, and as vice president of policy for the Gill Foundation, which is a charitable organization committed to achieving equality for all LGBTQ+ community.
Raghavan worked at the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration as a liaison officer to the LGBTQ and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. He also worked as the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group’s Outreach Lead and as Acting White House Liaison for the US Department of Defense. As a first-generation immigrant from India, Raghavan grew up in Seattle and graduated from Stanford University. He now resides in Washington, D.C., with his spouse and their daughter.