Apr 29, 2022 - Energy & Environment

First look: John Kerry's chief of staff leaving climate team

Dan Feldman

Ambassador Dan Feldman. Photo: Amir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Ambassador Dan Feldman, who serves as chief of staff on John Kerry's international climate team, is leaving the administration early next month and will rejoin his law firm, Covington & Burling LLP, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Feldman, who previously served under then-Secretary of State Kerry as the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a close Kerry confidant.

  • He brought legal and congressional expertise to the Biden administration's international efforts to lower carbon emissions at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
  • "When President Biden tasked me with building a new office as part of an unprecedented new role helping rally the world to the climate fight, I knew we needed an outstanding diplomat to help manage that effort," Kerry said.
  • "Dan is a committed public servant to his core, and I thank him for answering the call to return to government and wish him all the best in his next chapter."

Driving the news: Feldman will rejoin Covington's environmental, social and governance, business and human rights, and public policy & government affairs practices as a partner in June.

  • "Our global team of lawyers and former diplomats and senior government officials solve complex problems at the nexus of public policy and law around the world," Doug Gibson, Covington's chair, said.
  • Kerry’s office will be led by his two deputy special envoys: Sue Biniaz, the chief lawyer for the Paris Climate Agreement, and Rick Duke, who was a special assistant to President Obama for climate.

The big picture: Team Biden is starting to see more departures, as officials either return to private life or hunker down ahead of the midterm elections in November.

  • Deputy White House communications director Pili Tobar is departing her role for the private sector, a White House official told Axios on Thursday.
  • Cedric Richmond, a former congressman and the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, is also leaving the administration.
  • White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy plans to leave her post soon, as well, the Washington Post has reported.
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