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Nigerian-American historically joins Biden cabinet

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The Senate has confirmed Wally Adeyemo as the first Black Deputy Treasury Secretary in America.

Adeyemo is the latest to join the Biden administration, aiding Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — the first woman to hold that role.

“Wally is everything the Treasury Department needs right now: He has spent his career working at the intersection of America’s national security interests an and our economic ones. In the process, he’s become a master of shuttle economic diplomacy, helping keep America’s economy strong at home and competitive abroad,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated. “Wally is also a tireless advocate for the working class. He helped build the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from its foundations after the Great Recession. Those values – and that managerial experience – will be a tremendous asset to Treasury now as we continue implementing the American Rescue Plan.”

Yellen says she is confident that Wally will handle his mission as Deputy Secretary like he’s handled everything else during his career: with integrity and excellence.

He was the first president of the Obama Foundation and also served during the Obama administration as the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics from 2015 to 2016 and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.

Adeyemo was born to Yoruba parents in Nigeria and raised in Southern California. His father was a teacher and his mother was a nurse. He has two younger siblings. After graduating from Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California in 1999, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 and a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 2009. During his time at the University of California, Berkeley, he played DB for the Bears football program.

Adeyemo served as the Director of African American Outreach for the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign and was based in the San Francisco office.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Adeyemo worked as an editor at the Hamilton Project. Adeyemo then served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to Jack Lew in the United States Department of the Treasury. He also served as the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Elizabeth Warren.

In November 2014, Adeyemo was nominated to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Markets and Development at the same time that the incumbent Assistant Secretary, Marisa Lago, was nominated to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in September 2015, but the committee did not advance his nomination to the full Senate. The nomination was withdrawn by President Obama in December 2015. Adeyemo was instead selected to concurrently serve as Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council in 2015, serving until 2016. During his tenure, he was the President’s representative to the G7 and G20 and held several senior management positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, as well as chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s provisions on macroeconomic policy.

Adeyemo currently serves as a senior advisor at BlackRock. Previously he served as interim Chief of Staff for the firm’s CEO, Laurence D. Fink. On August 1, 2019, Adeyemo was selected as the first president of the Obama Foundation.

In November 2020, it was announced that Adeyemo would be nominated to serve as United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden administration. On January 20, 2021, his nomination was submitted to the Senate for confirmation. A hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance was held on February 23, 2021. He was confirmed by the committee by voice vote on March 3, 2021 and by the full US senate on March 25, 2021, also by voice vote.

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