Updated at 11:56 a.m. on January 4.
Ron Klain will leave his post as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff by the end of this month, he notified the staff at a meeting this morning. Klain, a veteran adviser to several high-level Democratic officeholders over the last quarter-century, will become president of Case Holdings.
In a statement, the vice president praised Klain as “my friend and adviser.”
Biden said Klain “has done an exceptional job of building my team, implementing my direction on top priorities, and providing invaluable counsel. He has also played a key role in establishing the strong, positive relationship that exists between my staff and the president's team.”
Case Holdings is the parent company of the investment firm named for former AOL chief Steve Case.
Klain was on his second stint running the office for a vice president, having held that position for Vice President Al Gore when he was 34. Klain's ties with Biden go back to when Klain was only 27 and the youngest-ever chief counselor on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also served as chief of staff to the attorney general.
He is perhaps best known outside Washington for his role – captured dramatically in the HBO movie Recount – leading the Gore battle for a recount in the tight presidential contest in Florida in 2000. Klain was portrayed in that movie by actor Kevin Spacey.
At the time Biden named him to head his staff, Klain had been out of government, working as a lawyer and lobbyist for the law firm O’Melveny and Myers.
There was no immediate indication who his successor will be in Biden’s office.
A native of Indiana, Klain was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White. He also worked for Tom Daschle when the South Dakota senator was Senate majority leader.
With one of the most storied resumes in Washington, Klain could well return to government, but that's unlikely anytime soon, and today's move takes him out of the running to be the next White House chief of staff.
Klein in a letter to staff:
To Team VP / JTB / Recovery,
Before he left for Christmas, I told the Vice President that I’d be leaving the OVP in January. We held the news until after the holidays -- until we were all back from break. Now, with the New Year in motion, it’s time to start on the transition.
The past two years have been the most interesting and exciting period of my career. I have loved coming to work every day, to serve the Vice President and Dr. Biden – and to have all of you as partners in this effort. I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved for the Vice President, Dr. Biden, and the entire administration. It’s been an incredible, incredible team effort.
When I accepted the Vice President’s offer become his Chief of Staff during the transition, I made a vow to myself that I’d leave “too soon” instead of staying “too late.” Service here is a great opportunity, but – as you all know –a grinding one as well. With five prior years of service in the Clinton-Gore White House, two years in the Obama-Biden White House seemed like a good tenure. Moreover, an opportunity came up that was a “now-or-never” choice, so a combination of thinking it was the “right time to leave” and being offered the “right next thing to do” made this decision the right one for me.
It has been an honor to serve in the Obama-Biden administration, and a special privilege to work for my mentor, friend, and role model, Joe Biden. I’m gratified by what we have done as a team to get the Vice President off to a very strong start. I will miss working with the Vice President each day, I will miss working with Dr. Biden, and I will miss you, my colleagues on the staff -- but I leave knowing that we have built the best Vice Presidential staff in history, that you all will continue to support him in the many important responsibilities he has on behalf of the administration.
I’m here for a few more weeks, so we will have a chance to talk in person before I go – but I wanted to send out this email so that everyone would get the news from me, and not some other source. Once again, from the bottom of my heart, I say thanks to all of you for your hard work, your loyalty, your dedication….and your friendship.