Kiran Ahuja stepping down as OPM director

OPM Director Kiran Ahuja is stepping down from her role in early May. Once the position is vacant, Deputy Director Rob Shriver will step in as acting director.

Kiran Ahuja, director of the Office of Personnel Management, will be stepping down from her position in early May, OPM announced Tuesday.

Since taking on the role back in 2021, Ahuja has become the longest-serving OPM director since 2015. Her Senate confirmation nearly three years ago brought in the first permanent leader for the agency in more than a year. Ahuja is also the first South Asian and first Asian American woman to lead OPM.

“Serving in the Biden-Harris administration, and in support of the 2.2 million federal workers who dedicate themselves to the American people, has been the honor of my life,” Ahuja said in a statement Tuesday. “From my time as a civil rights lawyer in the Department of Justice, to my years as OPM’s chief of staff, I’ve seen the power that public service has to change lives, rebuild communities and make our nation stronger. We have accomplished so much these last three years at OPM, but I am most proud of the friendships and bonds we built together in public service.”

Ahuja decided to leave the position due to ongoing health concerns and a recent death in the family, an agency spokesperson said. Once Ahuja vacates her position as the top-most OPM official in the coming weeks, OPM Deputy Director Rob Shriver will begin serving as acting director.

OPM has taken major steps in the past couple of years under Ahuja’s leadership. The agency has put out near-countless regulations and guidance documents on building a hybrid workforce of the future, how to collaborate with federal unions, how to make progress on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, ways to enhance early-career and skills-based federal recruitment and retention, and ensuring worker protections in the career civil service — just to name a handful.

OPM has also been chipping away at modernizing retirement services, addressing long-standing federal pay issues, implementing a new health insurance system for U.S. Postal Service workers, and much more.

Under her leadership as a senior official in the Biden administration, Ahuja said rebuilding the federal workforce was one of her top priorities — whether that was through boosting federal employee morale, finding ways to help agencies with recruitment and retention, or positioning the government as a model employer.

“What I consider incredibly important from my role is that every single day when I wake up, I am thinking about the morale of this workforce, and I am putting that front and center,” Ahuja told Federal News Network in August 2021.

“Kiran leaves an incredible legacy as a strong and indefatigable champion of the 2.2 million public servants in the federal workforce,” OPM’s Shriver said in a statement. “Under Kiran’s leadership, OPM has bounced back stronger than ever and partnered with agencies across government to better serve the American people. Kiran represents the very best of the Biden-Harris administration, and I am honored to call her a dear colleague and friend.”

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