Obama Foundation President Wally Adeyemo picked to be deputy Treasury secretary

Mala Adiga, a graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School and the University of Chicago Law School, was named Jill Biden’s Policy Director.

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Obama Foundation President Wally Adeyemo

Obama Foundation President Wally Adeyemo

Biden transition team

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden picked Obama Foundation president and economist Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo on Monday to be deputy secretary of the Treasury.

Adeyemo, a Hyde Park resident, joined the Obama Foundation in August 2019 as its first president.

He came to the foundation after serving in a variety of positions in the Obama administration. After leaving the White House, he signed on as a senior adviser at BlackRock, the global investment firm, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During the tenure of President Barack Obama, Adeyemo was the deputy director of the National Economic Council; the assistant secretary for international markets and development at the Treasury Department; deputy chief of staff of the Treasury Department in 2012; and chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 16 months, starting in 2010.

Adeyemo received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.

According to the Obama Foundation, Adeyemo’s salary was $600,000.

The Adeyemo appointment came as part of Biden’s unveiling on Monday of his economic team, where he highlighted the historic nature of some of his nominations. Born in Nigeria and raised in Southern California, Adeyemo, if confirmed, would be the first African American deputy secretary of the Treasury.

Other “firsts” among the nominees:

• Janet Yellen, nominated to serve as secretary of the Treasury; if confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department.

• Neera Tanden, nominated to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget; if confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

• Cecilia Rouse, nominated to serve as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; if confirmed, Rouse will become the first African American and the fourth woman to lead the CEA.

Flossmoor’s Mala Adiga named Jill Biden’s Policy Director

In other appointments, Mala Adiga was named policy director for the incoming first lady, Jill Biden. She was a senior adviser to Jill Biden and a senior policy adviser on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Before the campaign, Adiga was at the Biden Foundation, where she was the director for higher education and military families programs.

Raised in south suburban Flossmoor, Adiga, who is Indian-American, went to Flossmoor Hills and what was then called Flossmoor Junior High School. She is a 1989 graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

When Adiga was a law student at the University of Chicago, one of her instructors was one Barack Obama. That introduction eventually led her on her path to the White House — first in the Obama administration and soon the Biden administration.

After graduating law school in 2002, Adiga was a litigation associate at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana before joining Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign legal team.

Once Obama was elected, she moved from Hyde Park to Washington to join the Obama administration, where she served in a variety of policy roles: she was a deputy assistant Secretary of State; a chief of staff and senior adviser for the Secretary’s office of Global Women’s Issues; on then-Vice President Joe Biden’s National Security staff and in the Justice Department office of the associate attorney general.

Adiga also has a master’s in public health from the University of Minnesota; her undergraduate degree is from Grinnell College.

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