Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET
President-elect Joe Biden has named his longtime aide Ron Klain to be White House chief of staff, the campaign announced Wednesday evening.
The chief of staff is one of the most significant White House appointments.
An alumnus of the Obama-Biden administration, Klain had previously served as Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president.
“Ron has been invaluable to me over the many years that we have worked together, including as we rescued the American economy from one of the worst downturns in our history in 2009 and later overcame a daunting public health emergency in 2014,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden’s choice of Klain, who served as President Barack Obama’s Ebola czar, points to the Biden administration’s focus on addressing the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed approximately 240,000 Americans so far.
Biden added: “His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again.”
Biden has repeatedly accused President Trump of fumbling the nation’s pandemic response and has vowed to lead the country with a scientific approach to slowing the virus’s spread.
Klain worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and, most recently, as a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. Klain also worked as an adviser on Biden’s unsuccessful 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns.
In a statement, Klain described his appointment as “the honor of a lifetime.”
He continued: “I look forward to helping [Biden] and the Vice President-elect assemble a talented and diverse team to work in the White House, as we tackle their ambitious agenda for change, and seek to heal the divides in our country.”