Kiran Ahuja to step down as OPM director

Ahuja has served as Office of Personnel Management director since June 2021 and is the first Asian American woman to lead the agency.
Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management Kiran Ahuja speaks during a roundtable with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and federal workers on Oct. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja is stepping down after three years leading the federal civilian workforce agency. 

Ahuja, who is the longest-serving OPM director in more than 10 years, will depart her role in coming weeks, according to an agency release Tuesday. Ahuja was confirmed by the Senate in June 2021 and became both the first South Asian American and first Asian American woman to lead OPM. 

“From my time as a civil rights lawyer in the Department of Justice, to my years as OPM’s Chief of Staff, I’ve seen the power that public service has to change lives, rebuild communities, and make our nation stronger,” Ahuja said in a statement. “We have accomplished so much these last three years at OPM, but I am most proud of the friendships and bonds we built together in public service.” 

During her time leading OPM, Ahuja oversaw the administration’s efforts to implement a $15 minimum wage for federal workers, prohibit use of non-federal salary history in pay-setting for federal jobs, implement a new data strategy plan, and bolster the federal government’s tech workforce, among other things.


As part of the Biden administration’s AI efforts, Ahuja is a member of the AI and Tech Talent Task Force, which was created to support hiring efforts related to the president’s executive order on the technology. Related to that same order, OPM has also authorized direct hire authority for AI-related positions and outlined incentives for attracting and retaining AI workers in the federal government.

Prior to serving as OPM’s director, Ahuja was the agency’s chief of staff from 2015 to 2017. She also served in other federal government roles, including as executive director of the White House Initiative of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the Obama administration and as an attorney at the Justice Department.

“Under Kiran’s leadership, OPM has bounced back stronger than ever and partnered with agencies across government to better serve the American people,” Rob Shriver, deputy director of OPM said in a statement. “Kiran represents the very best of the Biden-Harris Administration, and I am honored to call her a dear colleague and friend.”

Madison Alder

Written by Madison Alder

Madison Alder is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering government technology. Her reporting has included tracking government uses of artificial intelligence and monitoring changes in federal contracting. She’s broadly interested in issues involving health, law, and data. Before joining FedScoop, Madison was a reporter at Bloomberg Law where she covered several beats, including the federal judiciary, health policy, and employee benefits. A west-coaster at heart, Madison is originally from Seattle and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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