Scope of the Position:

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the head of the largest Executive Office of the President. OMB is responsible for determining to what extent the aims and promises of the President can be actualized through study of the federal budget. OMB states that it is the implementation and enforcement arm of the Presidential policy government-wide.

The OMB Director reports directly to the President, serving as a key advisor. The Director is the person in charge of broad information collection and formation of the yearly budget. He or she must direct the other leaders of the OMB in their own specific tasks.

There is always interest and scrutiny regarding the fiscal agenda and policy that the President wishes to bring about. Anyone in this position is tasked with working those dreams and ambitions into a feasible prospect. Constant rewriting of budget and proposals on top of the advisory duties comes with being part of the President's executive inner circle.

Illustrative Management Challenges:

Part of OMB's job is to facilitate the collection of the documents needed for it to construct the yearly budget on behalf of the President. If OMB cannot complete this task, then it is not fulfilling its primary organizational purpose. A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July 2016 cites that OMB has deficiencies in its processes concerning the formation of consolidated financial statements across the federal government.1 GAO reported that among other things, these methodological deficiencies contributed to undermining the federal government's ability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities and reasonably assure that the consolidated financial statements are (1) consistent with the underlying audited entities' financial statements, (2) properly balanced, and (3) in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. In addition, another report by GAO highlights the ineffectual nature of the OMB in ensuring that agencies are recognizing and reporting what tax expenditures will benefit their particular agency goals when presented in the President's budget.2 As the July 2016 report indicates, for FY 2015 there are 138 tax expenditures in the President's budget that no agency has cited as assisting in their organizational mission or agency-specific goals, leaving $1.20 trillion in forgone tax revenue unjustified in its purpose or aim. GAO recommends that the OMB work with other agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to agency goals. The OMB Director must be ready to address issues like these to ensure that the organization is functioning at the most effective level.


      1Improvements Needed in Controls over the Processes Used to Prepare the U.S. Consolidated Financial Statements;; August 3, 2016.
      2Opportunities Exist to Use Budgeting and Agency Performance Processes to Increase Oversight;; August 8, 2016.

Directors of the Office of Management and Budget:

Given the broad reach of the Office of Management and Budget, the background for Directors varies greatly, consisting of a healthy mix of leadership roles in the private and public sectors. Many OMB Directors previously served as executives in large private sector corporations such as Citigroup, Walmart, and The Advisory Board Company, and others have served as high-level government officials in agencies such as the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Current Incumbent:

Shaun Donovan (2014-present): Prior to his current appointment, Donovan served as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commissioner for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for the City of New York, a visiting scholar at New York University, a consultant with the Millennial Housing Commission, and Acting Federal Housing Administrator during the Bush-Obama Presidential transition.

Previous Directors:

Brian Deese (Acting) (2014): Deese is currently serving in the White House as a Senior Advisor to President Obama. Deese's previous positions include Deputy Director of OMB, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, member of the Economic Policy Working Group for the Obama-Biden transition team, Economic Policy Director for Hillary Clinton's first Presidential campaign, and Senior Policy Analyst for Economic Policy with the Center for American Progress. He received his JD from Yale Law School.

Sylvia M. Burwell (2013-2014): Burwell is currently serving as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her previous positions included President of the Walmart Foundation, President of the Global Development Program and Chief Operating Officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Deputy Director of OMB, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Clinton, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, Staff Director of the National Economic Council, and an employee at McKinsey & Company.

Jeffrey Zients (Acting) (2012-2013; 2010): Zients is currently serving as the Director of the National Economic Council and as Assistant to the President on Economic Policy. His previous positions included CEO and Chairman of The Advisory Board Company, Chairman of the Corporate Executive Board, and co-founder of The Urban Alliance Foundation.

Jacob J. Lew (2010-2012; 1998-2001): Lew currently serves as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Lew's previous positions included White House Chief of Staff, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of two different business units for Citigroup, Executive Vice President and COO of New York University, Deputy Director of OMB, Special Assistant to President Clinton in his first term of office, and various positions with Congress.

Peter R. Orszag (2009-2010): Orszag currently serves as a Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard, as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Economic Studies, and as a contributing columnist at Bloomberg View. His previous positions included Vice Chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking and Chairman of the Financial Strategy and Solutions Group at Citigroup, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, contributing columnist at the The New York Times, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy during the Clinton Administration, Senior Advisor and Senior Economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and founder of his own economics consulting firm.

Jim Nussle (2007-2009): Nussle is currently serving as the President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). His previous positions included time as a Representative for Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, and time on the Banking and Ways and Means Committees. Nussle has also served as President and CEO of Growth Energy, Delaware County (Iowa) Attorney, and founder of his own law practice. He received his JD from Drake University.

Rob Portman (2006-2007): Portman is currently serving as a U.S. Senator for Ohio. His previous positions include U.S. Trade Representative and partner with the Cincinnati law firm Graydon, Head and Ritchey.

Joshua B. Bolten (2003-2006): Bolten is a co-founder of Rock Creek Global Advisors and is currently serving as its Managing Director. His previous positions included professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, Policy Director of George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign, General Counsel to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Chief Trade Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, attorney at the U.S. State Department, Executive Director of Legal and Government Affairs for Goldman Sachs, and as an attorney with O'Melveny and Myers in Washington, DC. He received his JD from Stanford University.

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. (2001-2003): Daniels is currently serving as the President of Purdue University. His previous positions have consisted of Governor of Indiana, Senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, CEO of the Hudson Institute, and President of North American Pharmaceutical Operations for Eli Lilly and Company. He received his JD from Georgetown University.

Franklin Raines (1996-1998): Raines is currently the Executive Director of XappMedia, Inc. and the Director of Exclusive Resorts. Following his time as OMB Director, Raines served as the Chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae for 6 years, after serving as Vice Chairman prior to his appointment at OMB. Raines served in the Carter Administration as associate director for economics and government in the Office of Management and Budget and assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff from 1977 to 1979.

Alice M. Rivlin (1994-1996): Rivlin is currently serving as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a visiting professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Her previous positions included Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board; Deputy Director of OMB; founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office; and Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She received her PhD in Economics from Radcliffe College.

Leon E. Panetta (1993-1994): Panetta is the co-founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy and currently serves as its Chairman. He previously served as the Secretary of Defense, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, a U.S. Representative for multiple California districts, private practice lawyer, Director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, and as a serviceman in the U.S. Army. Panetta received his JD from the Santa Clara School of Law.

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