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John Podesta stepping down as head of CAP

Center for American Progress (CAP) President and CEO John Podesta will be stepping down as the day-to-day manager and handing over the reins to CAP’s Chief Operating Officer Neera Tanden. Podesta, who founded CAP in 2003 and also served as the head of President Barack Obama‘s transition team, will remain as CAP’s chairman of the ...

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speaks during the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 at the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter August 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Political and economic leaders are attending the summit to discuss a domestic policy agenda to advance alternative energy for the country's future.

Center for American Progress (CAP) President and CEO John Podesta will be stepping down as the day-to-day manager and handing over the reins to CAP's Chief Operating Officer Neera Tanden.

Podesta, who founded CAP in 2003 and also served as the head of President Barack Obama's transition team, will remain as CAP's chairman of the board and will be a full-time employee at CAP focusing on long-term strategic planning and new projects. The change in management will take effect Nov. 1.

"By pulling out of the day-to-day, I will able to pursue two parallel objectives," Podesta wrote in a note to CAP employees today, obtained by The Cable. "Inside CAP, I intend to use this greater time and latitude to play an instrumental role in planning CAP's strategic growth, increasing our financial support, and drawing new initiatives into the organization. On the outside, I will continue teaching as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center and working part-time as an uncompensated senior advisor at the State Department."

Center for American Progress (CAP) President and CEO John Podesta will be stepping down as the day-to-day manager and handing over the reins to CAP’s Chief Operating Officer Neera Tanden.

Podesta, who founded CAP in 2003 and also served as the head of President Barack Obama‘s transition team, will remain as CAP’s chairman of the board and will be a full-time employee at CAP focusing on long-term strategic planning and new projects. The change in management will take effect Nov. 1.

"By pulling out of the day-to-day, I will able to pursue two parallel objectives," Podesta wrote in a note to CAP employees today, obtained by The Cable. "Inside CAP, I intend to use this greater time and latitude to play an instrumental role in planning CAP’s strategic growth, increasing our financial support, and drawing new initiatives into the organization. On the outside, I will continue teaching as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center and working part-time as an uncompensated senior advisor at the State Department."

Podesta’s role as senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not been previously reported. Podesta has been working at the State Department unpaid, one day a week, since late last month, a State Department official told The Cable.

Podesta has been serving as an expert consultant to the State Department, providing advice on foreign policy priorities. Specifically, he has been helping State implement components of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), including efforts to leverage diplomacy for development, elevating the role of energy and economics in U.S. foreign policy, and enhancing civilian power in the transitions occurring in the Middle East, the official said. 

Throughout his long career in Washington, Podesta has worked on a number of key the foreign policy issues, focusing heavily on energy security, economic security, climate change, civilian power, civil society building, and international development.

He was President Bill Clinton‘s chief of staff and was a principal on the National Security Council. He was also counselor to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (1995-1996), chief counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987-1988), and chief minority counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks, Security and Terrorism, and Regulatory Reform (1981-1987).

Tanden, who is a graduate of Yale Law School and served as policy director for Clinton’s presidential campaign, will take over Podesta’s responsibilities. She talked about her desire to unite the left in advance of the 2012 election in an interview with the New York Times today.

"There’s a lack of faith in our ability to solve large-scale problems together, and that weakens the progressive cause," she said. "There’s big hunger for bigger solutions, and some of the reaction we’re seeing in this country is a rejection of the current discourse in Washington."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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