WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following five individuals to serve in key roles:

  • Scott A. Nathan, Nominee for Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation
  • Viquar Ahmad, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Commerce
  • Matthew Axelrod, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Department of Commerce
  • Robert Gordon, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Charles F. Sams, Nominee for Director of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior

Scott A. Nathan, Nominee for Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation

Scott A. Nathan is an experienced investor, manager and public servant. For nearly two decades, he worked as a partner, management committee member, and the chief risk officer of The Baupost Group, a private investment partnership based in Boston.  Nathan entered public service during the Obama-Biden Administration, first as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the Department of State, where he led a team of foreign service officers and civil servants focused on protecting U.S. economic interests abroad and advocating on behalf of American exports. In that role, he traveled to more than 30 countries supporting the Administration’s economic diplomacy agenda. Later, he served as the Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget. Nathan most recently served as a senior advisor to the White House Office of Presidential Personnel after having worked on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition’s Appointments team.

Nathan has been deeply involved with numerous environmental advocacy, educational and other non-profit organizations. Scott graduated from Harvard College with a BA and also has a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Additionally, he attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge University in England as the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar.  Nathan lives with his family in Washington, DC.

Viquar Ahmad, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Commerce

Viquar Ahmad has held multiple leadership roles in the U.S. government over the past two decades. He served as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives over the past four years; his responsibilities included management of Congress’ operating budget. Before returning to the House, Ahmad provided counsel to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) senior leadership on the budget decision-making, and oversight on a nearly $70 billion budget of its component agencies. His leadership enabled DHS to successfully meet response and recovery efforts to catastrophic natural disasters, thwart cybersecurity threats, clean-up the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history, and recapitalize critical multi-billion dollar national security assets. Previously, he served as a senior aide to the Chairman for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. In this capacity, he facilitated Congress’ enactment of the largest domestic discretionary spending bills, reflecting priorities outlined by a diverse constituency of stakeholders.

Ahmad has been recognized with excellence awards, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Medal. He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University. He was awarded an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.   

Matthew Axelrod, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Department of Commerce

Matt Axelrod is a longtime public servant with deep criminal and national security enforcement experience, having spent over thirteen years at the Department of Justice. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Axelrod served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, where he advised on the Department’s criminal and national security enforcement matters, and supervised a staff of twenty-five attorneys. Prior to that, Axelrod spent over a decade as a career federal prosecutor.  From 2003 to 2009, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Miami, where he prosecuted, among others, the two founders of the Cali Cartel.  From 2009 to 2013, he was on detail to Main Justice, where he worked as a Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and then as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for overseeing the Department’s criminal enforcement work. 

After leaving the Department in 2017, Axelrod joined the global law firm Linklaters as a partner, where he did internal investigations and white-collar defense work.  Axelrod took a leave of absence from Linklaters in the fall of 2020 to volunteer full-time as a member of the DOJ Agency Review Team and then rejoined the Department on Inauguration Day as Senior Counselor.  He was recently detailed to the Office of the White House Counsel, where he serves as Special Counsel and works on both domestic and national security matters. 

Axelrod graduated with a B.A. from Amherst College, cum laude, in 1992, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1997, where he was a Notes Editor for the Yale Law Journal.  He spent two years clerking, first for the Hon. Ralph K. Winter, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for the Hon. Janet C. Hall on the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.  

Robert Gordon, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, Department of Health and Human Services

Robert Gordon is senior counselor at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities and senior advisor for Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.  He has worked in key government positions across three decades.  Most recently, Gordon served as director of the Department of Health & Human Services for the State of Michigan, playing a central role in the state’s pandemic response, expanding access to health care, and addressing racial disparities. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Gordon served as an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Education, and as acting deputy director and executive associate director at the Office of Management & Budget.  Among other responsibilities, Gordon guided key early childhood and evidence-based policy initiatives.  Earlier in his career, Gordon served as a senior official at the New York City Department of Education, driving an equity-focused school finance reform; a senior aide on Capitol Hill; a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and a White House aide helping create the AmeriCorps program. Gordon co-chaired the agency review team for the Department of Health and Human Services for the Biden-Harris Transition, and served on two transition teams previously. 

Gordon has also worked as senior vice president for strategy and finance at the College Board and as a law guardian for children in abuse and neglect proceedings. In addition to the University of Michigan, he has been a fellow at the Urban Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Center for American Progress.  His writings on policy have been published in The New York Times, Politico, and The Atlantic.  He and his wife, Catherine Brown, have two sons.

Charles F. Sams, Nominee for Director of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior

Charles F. Sams III currently serves as a Council Member to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, as appointed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown.  Sams has worked in state and tribal governments and the non- profit natural resource and conservation management fields for over 25 years. Previous roles include Deputy Executive Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Communications Director for the CTUIR, Environmental Health and Safety Officer/Planner in the Tribal Planning Office for the CTUIR, President/Chief Executive Officer of Indian Country Conservancy, Executive Director for the Umatilla Tribal Community Foundation, National Director of the Tribal & Native Lands Program for the Trust for Public Land, Executive Director for the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Executive Director for the Community Energy Project and President/Chief Executive Officer for the Earth Conservation Corps.  He is also a former adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Whitman College.  

Sams holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Concordia University-Portland and a master of legal studies in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Cultural Trust and Gray Family Foundation. Chuck is an enrolled member, Cayuse and Walla Walla, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, where also he and his wife, Lori Sams, live with their four children.

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