Who Is Jeffery Zients? Biden's COVID Chief Reportedly Left Facebook Board Over Differences With Company

Jeffrey Zients, who has been selected as President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus chief on Thursday, reportedly left Facebook earlier this year over differences with the social media giant.

Politico earlier reported Biden's decision to tap Zients as his administration's COVID-19 head, according to people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Zients would not seek reelection to Facebook's board. According to the newspaper, which cited people familiar with the matter, Zients' decision to leave Facebook's board came amid disagreements with how the social media platform handled misinformation.

However, Facebook said that Zients' departure from its board was so that he could "devote more time to his business and other professional interests."

According to the Journal, Zients said in a statement: "I wish Mark [Zuckerberg], the leadership team, and the dedicated Facebook employees the best."

In addition to serving on Facebook's board, Zients served as the director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama and was an assistant to the president for economic policy.

Before his time as the director of the National Economic Council, Zients served twice as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His first stint in this position occurred from June to October in 2010, and then later served again from January 2012 to April 2013.

Jeffrey Zients
Jeffrey Zients, acting director and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the Senate Budget Committee on the president's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal on April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty

Zients was confirmed by the Senate as the deputy director of the OMB in 2009, and was later appointed by Obama as United States chief performance officer.

"I have named Jeffrey Zients, a leading CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, to serve as Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget and as the first ever Chief Performance Officer," Obama said in 2009. "Jeffrey will work to streamline processes, cut costs, and find best practices throughout our government."

In 2013, Zients was recruited by Obama and then-Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough to fix healthcare.gov, following its error-plagued launch.

Prior to his time working under Obama's administration, Zients served as the chief executive officer (1998–2000) and the chairman (2001-2004) of the Advisory Board Company, as well as the chairman of the Corporate Executive Board from 2000 to 2001.

Zients also founded and served as the managing partner of Portfolio Logic LLC, a private investment firm with a focus on healthcare services.

He is currently the CEO of Cranemere, a holding company, which is known for "rejecting the debt-fueled buy-and-sell grind of private equity and doing it old-school like Buffett — looking for value where others have missed it and investing for the long-long term," according to The Washington Post.

In addition to Zients, Politico reported that Biden plans to appoint Vivek Murthy as the U.S. surgeon general, a position he previously held under the Obama administration.

Newsweek reached out to Biden's transition team for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.