Governor Chris Christie today announced changes in his senior staff leadership, moving familiar faces to critical leadership roles to best carry out his reform agenda for New Jersey. The movement represents a smooth transition to the new year and second half of his term, in which Governor Christie will rely upon trusted and tested advisors in key front-office posts.
Among those moves by Governor Christie is the elevation of Deputy Chief Counsel Kevin O'Dowd to Chief of Staff, replacing Rich Bagger, who is returning to the biopharmaceutical sector as Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Strategic Market Access for Celgene Corporation. Charles McKenna, currently director of Homeland Security and Preparedness and a former top advisor to the Governor at the U.S. Attorney's Office, will become Governor Christie's Chief Counsel.
Deborah Gramiccioni, currently head of the Governor's Authorities Unit, will become Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, replacing Wayne Hasenbalg, who has accepted the post of President and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
In the Governor's Counsel Office, Paul Matey, currently the Governor's Senior Counsel, will fill the role of Deputy Chief Counsel; while Regina Egea, currently Chief of Staff to Treasurer's Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, will take over as head of the Authorities Unit.
All of the changes go into effect on January 31, upon Mr. Bagger's departure from the administration.
"I am extremely proud of all we accomplished in two years with my cabinet and senior staff, led by Rich Bagger and Jeff Chiesa," Governor Christie said. "Every one of my senior staff gave something up to join me and devote themselves to the single-minded cause of starting New Jersey's comeback in terms of fiscal responsibility, smaller and smarter government and business retention, expansion and job growth. I thank them, those who are leaving and those who are staying in the same or new roles, and commend them for their service to this noble cause on behalf of our state and its citizens and taxpayers.
"Now, with proven leaders and accomplished professionals in new roles, we embark on the second leg of this journey to bring back our state. These are all people who I know and have worked with, some for many years, who possess the intelligence, integrity and drive to continue moving New Jersey forward. I demand a lot from my senior staff and cabinet, and I know they are up to and excited by the opportunity to serve and improve government and life in our great state.
"I need to extend special gratitude to Rich Bagger for his remarkable leadership, intelligence and humor -- even in the most trying moments -- and above all his sage advice as a state government veteran committed to helping get New Jersey back on the right track. I wish him well and much success in his return to the private sector with Celgene, a great New Jersey innovative company."
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