Most Intriguing Job in the Obama White House

There are a lot of intriguing people in the Obama administration, but the administration’s most intriguing job–at least as far as I’m concerned–is that of Chief Performance Officer (CPO), Nancy Killefer’s new post.

I’m captivated by this position for two reasons–it’s amazing potential for success and it’s equally amazing potential for failure.  If Killefer succeeds, she will help transform our government into a more efficient and accountable institution (instead of the lumbering giant I wouldn’t trust with cottonballs).  If she fails, the media will dowse her in flames and watch her spin for months and, just as she falls to the ground in a heap, they’ll admit they never expected much anyway.

So, what is a Chief Performance Officer?

The White House’s Chief Performance Officer is a first, so the details of the position are still a bit sketchy, the goals a bit lofty.

Here’s what President Obama said about the new CPO:

Let’s see what we’ve got.

To whom does the CPO report?

What we know for sure is that the CPO will work closely with Peter Orszag, head of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Rob Nabors, Deputy Director of OMB.  The reporting structure is not clear, but the CPO will need the authority to declare powerful people’s pet projects dead.

What exactly does a CPO do?

The CPO is responsible for the following:

  • Streamlining government processes
  • Eliminating inefficient processes, systems and practices
  • Evaluating thousands of government programs, ensuring those that do not cost-effectively deliver the intended results are eliminated or restructured
  • Overhaul the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)
  • Build management capacabilities
  • Develop metrics that work across programs and allow the public to track the government’s progress
  • Convince Cabinet Secretaries and other key staff to buy into a more efficient, more accountable, more transparent government

What does it pay?

2009 White House Salaries have not been published, but based on 2008 salaries, the CPO will earn approximately $160,000-$172,000.

To break into a CPO position, you’ll need…

Since this is new territory, we can only study Nancy Killefer’s steps.

Education: Killefer holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an MBA from MIT.

Work Experience: Prior to accepting the Chief Performance Officer position, Killefer was a Sr. Director in McKinsey & Company’s Public Sector Practice in Washington, DC.  She joined McKinsey in 1979 and specialized in developing strategies and improving organizational effectiveness for government clients.

From 1997 to 2000, Killefer served as Assistant Secretary for Management, CFO, and COO at the United States Department of the Treasury.  She returned to McKinsey in 2000.

What about this job doesn’t suck?


CPO Job Opportunities

Unfortunately, the White House Chief Performance Officer is one-of-a-kind.  But, there are a few similar jobs.

Chief Performance Improvement Officer, Commerce, Patent & Trademark Office

Performance Improvement Consulting Jobs

Chief Operating Officer Jobs

Business Process Improvement Jobs

Organizational Improvement Jobs

All Performance Improvement jobs

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