U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Matthews Burwell as head of the White House Office of Management and Budget Monday, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the matter.
Assuming Burwell, who is either 47 or 48, actually gets the job, she will succeed acting OMB Director Jeffrey D. Zients.
Burwell is a veteran of President Bill Clinton's White House, having serving in several capacities there during the 1990s, including stints as the White House's deputy chief of staff and the OMB's deputy director.
Earlier, Burwell was employed as an aide to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, as well as a staffer for the Dukakis/Bentsen (1988) and Clinton/Gore’s election campaigns.
A holder of bachelor's degrees from both Harvard and Oxford universities, Burwell has worked in the nonprofit private sector since her Clinton administration days. She has been president of the Walmart Foundation since 2011, and she was previously the president of the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Burwell could prove to be a successful choice for Obama for two primary reasons.
First, Burwell may have gained experience in government during the Clinton’s administration, but she has largely been an outsider in Washington in recent year. This means she could provide a much-needed outsider perspective at the OMB. Given that the office is frequently in the middle of fierce debates between Republicans and Democrats in the nation's capital, she could be a balancing force in negotiations.
Second, Burwell would bring more gender diversity to Obama’s administration. Recently, Obama has come under fire from many on the left for selecting more men than women for high-profile positions. In February, Obama replaced his most visible female member of his cabinet, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with a male, John Kerry.