Top Biden aide to head Broad Foundation

Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad are photographed in their Los Angeles home with an original Jasper Johns piece.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Bruce Reed, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff for nearly three years, will leave the administration next month to lead the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Los Angeles-based philanthropic group that backs efforts to change public schools, the White House and the foundation announced Wednesday.

Reed, who has served in senior positions in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, leaves Biden’s inner circle just as the vice president weighs making a third run for the White House, an effort that would potentially pit him against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Although best known for his involvement in the arts and the redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles, Broad’s education foundation has been one of the largest backers of a variety of efforts to change urban public schools. Supporters of the foundation’s work say it aims to raise the quality of schools and make school systems more responsive to parents. Opponents accuse the foundation and its allies of pursuing a corporate agenda that undermines teacher unions.

Reed has been involved in education policy debates since he worked for then-Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) in the 1980s. He went on to become the policy chief for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992, then worked in the White House for eight years, becoming domestic policy advisor in Clinton’s second term.


After Clinton left the White House, Reed was policy director and later president of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist Democratic group.

Before joining Biden’s staff at the beginning of 2011, Reed was executive director of the Simpson-Bowles commission that President Obama appointed in 2010 to develop proposals to address the nation’s deficit and debt challenges.

Broad said in a statement announcing the move that Reed’s “strategic insights, energy and passion for elevating education to a national priority make him an ideal partner in our work.”

Reed, in a statement issued by the foundation, praised the Broads, saying: “No one is more committed to improving our public schools, and their generosity is matched by their focus on making the world a better place.”

Replacing Reed as Biden’s chief advisor will be Steve Ricchetti, currently a senior counselor, who also served in the Clinton White House.

Shailagh Murray, Biden’s communications director, will add the title of deputy chief of staff.

“I’ll long be grateful for Bruce’s ideas and wisdom,” Biden said in a statement. “The middle class is stronger, the tax code is fairer, the deficit is smaller, and America is safer because of what this administration has accomplished during his time here.”

Twitter: @mikememoli