U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo by: Tom Brenner / Reuters

United States President Joe Biden named acting heads of a number of development agencies Wednesday shortly after taking the oath of office.

As is typical, the heads of those agencies or departments, who are political appointees, left their positions as now-former President Donald Trump’s administration ended.

Here’s a look at who will lead the agencies until Biden nominates and the Senate confirms permanent leaders:

U.S. Agency for International Development — Gloria Steele

The Biden transition team announced that it intends to nominate Samantha Power as the next U.S. Agency for International Development administrator, but until she is confirmed by the Senate, Gloria Steele, who had recently left the agency, will return as its acting leader.

Steele had recently left USAID after four decades to join the NGO CARE as its chief operating officer, but prior to that had served as deputy assistant administrator at USAID and led the Bureau for Asia for nearly four years. She has also held leadership posts at the agency’s Bureau for Global Health and its Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, and she worked for years in the Bureau for Africa and the Bureau for Science and Technology.

Her appointment was a bit of a surprise, as some thought that Chris Milligan, counselor to USAID, would be acting head of the agency.

For a list of who will lead the various USAID bureaus in the interim, scroll to the end of this article.

Read more: USAID officials prepare for higher-profile role under Samantha Power

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation — Dev Jagadesan

The youngest of the U.S. development agencies will be led by Dev Jagadesan, who is deputy general counsel at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the White House announced in a statement.

Jagadesan has nearly two decades of experience working in development finance for the U.S. government and served as the acting head of DFC’s predecessor agency — the Overseas Private Investment Corporation — in 2017, at the start of the Trump administration.

Read more: US DFC at 1: Ambition, investments, and mission drift?

Department of State — Dan Smith

Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, had a nomination hearing Tuesday and is expected to be confirmed quickly. But until then, Dan Smith will lead the State Department, according to a White House statement.

Smith, who has been director at the Foreign Service Institute since 2018, serves as the department’s chief learning officer.

Read more: What Antony Blinken's nomination hearing says about US foreign aid

State Department Office of Foreign Assistance — Tracy Carson

Tracy Carson, the deputy director at the Office of Foreign Assistance who has served in the department for more than 10 years, will be the acting foreign assistance director, according to the State Department website.

U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — Angeli Achrekar

Angeli Achrekar, who has been serving as acting U.S. global AIDS coordinator since former Coordinator Deborah Birx left early last year to join the White House’s coronavirus task force, remains in the role, according to the State Department website. She has been working on the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief since the initiative was launched in 2003.

U.S. Mission to the United Nations — Rich Mills

While Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, awaits her confirmation, Richard Mills — a career foreign service officer who was deputy representative to the U.N. — will lead efforts there, the White House said.

Millennium Challenge Corporation — Mahmoud Bah

Mahmoud Bah, who has been at MCC for more than 10 years, will serve as the agency’s acting CEO. Bah most recently headed MCC’s efforts to develop its first regional compact and prior to that was the agency’s resident country director in Ivory Coast.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency — Enoh T. Ebong

Enoh T. Ebong will serve as acting head of the USTDA, returning to the agency where she worked from 2004 to 2019 in a variety of roles including general counsel, deputy director and chief operating officer. She joins the agency from the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream where she was the head of strategic partnerships..

Additional acting USAID leadership

Acting Chief of Staff — Michele Sumilas
Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance — Sarah Charles
Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization — Robert Jenkins
Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation — Karl Fickenscher
Bureau for Global Health — Kerry Pelzman
Bureau for Management — Colleen Allen
Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs — Amy Paro
Bureau for Policy Planning and Learning — Michele Sumilas
Bureau for Africa — Peter Malnak
Bureau for Asia — Karen Freeman
Bureau for Europe and Eurasia — Margot Ellis
Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean — Peter Natiello
Bureau for the Middle East — Andrew Plitt
General Counsel — Jun Jin
Executive Secretary — Erica Carr

Updates: On Feb. 3, 2021 this article was updated with the name of a new USTDA acting leader. On Jan. 27, the name of the acting CEO of MCC was added. On Jan. 21, additional names of acting USAID leadership were added.

About the author

  • Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is a Senior Reporter at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.