the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region

Today, National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice announced that Philip Gordon, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region will be stepping down, and will be succeeded by Rob Malley, currently NSC Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States.  Dr. Malley will assume his new position on April 6, 2015. 

Ambassador Rice said, “For more than six years, Phil Gordon has been an indispensable member of the President’s foreign policy team, as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2009-13 and as Middle East Coordinator since March 2013.  At the National Security Council, Phil played a critical role on some of the most important and challenging issues facing this country, including the Iranian nuclear program; our strategic partnership with Israel; Middle East peace; Syria; Iraq; U.S. relations with the Gulf States; and the democratic transitions in Egypt and North Africa.  I thank him for his service and wish him all the best as he departs the NSC to spend some well-deserved time with his family and pursue other professional endeavors.

There could be no better successor to Phil than Rob Malley, who is already one of my most trusted advisers and ideally placed to provide a seamless transition.  One of our country’s most respected experts on the Middle East, since February 2014 Rob has played a critical role in forming our policy on Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf.  I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Rob Malley served as Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger between 1996 and 1998.  In October 1998, he was appointed Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, a post he held until the end of the administration in 2001.  Between 2001 and 2014, he directed the Middle East Program at the International Crisis Group.