April 18th, 2009
06:15 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama names performance and technology czars

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama named two additional members of his executive team Saturday.

The man known for his tech-savvy presidential campaign and for his attachment to his PDA announced in his weekly addressed that Jeffrey Zients will serve as the new administration's Chief Performance Officer and Aneesh Chopra will serve as Obama's Chief Technology Officer. Obama also said that Zients will pull double duty and also fill the position of Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget.

Zients "will work to streamline processes, cut costs, and find best practices throughout our government," the President said in his weekly address. Chopra "will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities – from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure."

Both men will work closely with Vivek Kundra, Obama's Chief Information Officer. Kundra "is responsible for setting technology policy across the government, and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency, and lower costs," the president also said Saturday.

"The goal is to give all Americans a voice in their government and ensure that they know exactly how we're spending their money – and can hold us accountable for the results."

Zients brings 20 years of business experience to his new position; he is the founder and managing partner of investing firm Portfolio Logic. He is Obama's second pick for the performance post. Nancy Killefer, Obama's original pick, withdrew citing unspecified problems with District of Columbia unemployment tax.
Chopra currently serves as Virginia's Secretary of Technology under Gov. Tim Kaine, a longtime Obama political ally.

Kundra came to the Obama administration after working for the District of Columbia's government under D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, another longtime ally of the new president.

In making the two personnel announcements Saturday, the president said that he had "a team of management, technology, and budget experts . . . who will help us revamp government operations from top to bottom and ensure that the federal government is truly working for the American people."

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Benjine-boston ma

    Why so much negativity towards Mr. Obama.

    The guy has not been a president for 6months atmost..

    April 18, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  2. Glennis

    Hmmm. Adding legions of "czars" is surely streamling government, isn't it! How many of these bloody people do we need? The federal government is so big and unwieldy now that the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. Is this Obama's way of recognizing that fact and hauling in people he can go to instead? If so, then isn't it about time we started getting the size of government under control? On the other hand, if his intent is to put all these people in adviser positions so that they are accountable only to him, that is a very bad idea in itself. Enough with the czars, already!

    April 18, 2009 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  3. Former Obama Supporter

    What is the deal with all the "czars"? We are more like commie Russia now instead of czarist Russia. I wish Obama would get his act together.

    April 18, 2009 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  4. Texas Teacher

    Sounds good to me............ 🙂

    April 18, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. Dawn

    Welcome to the 21st Century...

    April 18, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Obama's administration looks like a Thirld World government packed with "advisors" and "czars" that are really political paybacks.

    How much is this fool costing us?

    April 18, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. the rector

    If Obama wants to create change we can believe in and streamline government to save money, then lets start with an across the board pay cut for all federal employees, to include eliminating health care, retirement, and expense accounts for a start. Then we can disband the secret service and do away with the executive fleet of planes choppers and limos. The last time I checked those scumbags work for us, and until I get free health care, armed escorts and free trips anywhere I want to go, then they shouldn't either. They work for us!!! We are loosing our jobs, our homes, and our rights at an alarming rate, but thats ok because we have a slightly less than white president? Make these jerks work for a living, take the perks out of the job and put real people in those positions instead of talking heads filled with Hagalian ideology imparted to them in their ivy league temples of capitalism and globalization. If you dont think there is an agenda toward the dissolution of the US as we have always known it then you are foolish or ignorant. An anti gun AG, an anti gun SS, a bow to a foreign leader, and a ceremony honoring Janet "hitler" Reno are all the information anyone needs to draw the correct conclusion. We are under attack from within our own government. You can hate W all you want, I do too, but don't give this guy or his handlers an inch, or they will take the whole thing away and you will never know what hit you! As it stands we will never in our lifetimes out live the new debt incurred during the first hundred days of this reign of stupidity, all of which will go to the very people who made this mess in the first place. Put the bailout proposals on a ballot and see how that turns out. But Geithner has favors to repay and an agenda to keep, globalization and the destruction of US sovereignty. We are revenue machines to the government, just like slaves always are.

    April 18, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. terry

    Obama's presidency so far has been a series of pleasant surprises. He was not my favorite among the Democratic candidates, but I cannot imagine how my preferred choice could have done any better. He actually believes that the nation should solve its problems and he is aggressively trying to help the nation solve them.

    This is such a refreshing change from Conservatives, who cause many of the nation's problems and obstinately refuse to consider solving any of them.

    April 18, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. Tom Paine

    ANOTHER CZAR? We've had more czars than Russia at this point.

    Hey, Obama – you're supposed to be the leader, right? you make the decision and you take the crap when it's wrong.

    April 18, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  10. Michael Cooper

    Good Job Obama!

    April 18, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. jj12343

    How many unaccountable czar's does this country need?

    April 18, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Larry

    Why is the Obama administration calling their executive team "czars"?
    The word "czar" sounds like a communist party members title,doesn't it?

    April 18, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Paul H

    It's funny how this administration tosses the term czar around, a term mostly used in Russia, communist Russia.
    Maybe it's just defiance, or maybe just maybe the Change we are getting is already happening in other countries. Maybe we are trading our freedom for a government that imposes it's will on us in the form of entitlement programs, carbon credits, and fear of failure.
    They claim they are giving tax breaks to 90% of Americans, but they are raising taxes on so many other things, that it still comes out of our pockets. The taxes they are raising will effect your gas bills, electrical bill, all of your utility bills, hell even beer tax is going up.
    They come through the front door with a check, and take it from you out the back door to help pay for this big government machine.

    April 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. bob tamer, bellmore, ny

    how can our homeland security chief work on the problem of illegal immigration when she doesn't know that it exists. how can she also take the word terror or terrorism out of her departments dictionary and then release a memo that clearly uses the word twice. she needs to go and fast. illegal immigration needs to be taken care of under the laws of our land. they are illegal.....duh.....send them back, don't give them amnesty. costs us enough to take care of our own and now with jobs scarce, we need those jobs for americans. mr. president, this should be simple, follow the law of our land.

    April 18, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Steve, PA

    Wow... Looks like the Tea Parties might have accomplished something. Or maybe he is finally starting to get the hint the people of this Country are tired of his Trillions in spending. I guess naming a few more Czars is the best he can do. Talk about sounding more and more like Russia. Our Economy is heading in the exact same direction as Russia's did, so we might as well sound like them too.

    Obama is single handly destroying everything this Country was created for. Iran, North Korea and even Cuba now sees how weak we have become thanks to the O'Pologists policy of lets all be friends because it's all America's fault. This does not work in a World that has Countries who sole desire is to get Nuclear Weapons and USE them to destroy the US and our allies.

    This is going to be a rough 4 years for the 2nd Carter Administration.

    April 18, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. Mally

    Im glad to see Obama actually doing something. In my short life, this is the first President I've seen do something real. And I really don't care how much money he spends, as long as it will get us out of the mess we were in. And no matter who he picks for his executive team, I'm positive it's a good choice. Give Obama a break! He's only been in office for about 4 months. It's going to take a long time to recover.
    Change Has Come.

    April 18, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. Brett

    Why does CNN keep using the word "czars"? Everytime i heard it, it implies some kind of Soviet Russian hand if not ownership to me.

    I know its slang for high offical, I don't know...just seems kind of odd to me. Never heard that stuff under the Bush Administration.

    April 18, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Charles W. Skinner

    Any bets on how long it will be before a Tax scandal or a "Pay to Play" scandal comes up about these two?

    April 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    What do we need czars for anyway?... This isn't Russia is it?
    What will these new czars do?...Shuffle papers like most bureaucrats.

    April 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. Rufus

    I want t be a czar ! Everyone else is and I deserve a place at the public money trough! Obama are you listening?

    April 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. ib

    What's with all these czars Obama is naming. He shows what he wants to be King Obama instead of president Obama. If he can't do anything without his teleprompter or someone telling him what to do aka Pelosi.

    April 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. The Truth

    Why doesn't Obama just get it over with and change the stars and stripes to the hammer and cycle?

    What a joke this administration is.

    April 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |