Adeyemo will replace Caroline Atkinson who most recently participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Atkinson, who has served in her current position as national security adviser since June 2013, also coordinated U.S. participation in Group of 20 and Group of 7 countries’ annual summits.
In his official statement, President Obama said of Atkinson’s work:
For the past four years, I have relied on Caroline Atkinson, most recently as my Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, as we’ve navigated pressing challenges to the global economy.
As my representative at the G-7 and G-20, she played a key role in coordinating our response to international financial crises, worked with our allies to devise and implement targeted economic sanctions to advance our national security goals, played a vital role in our economic engagements with China, and helped to achieve breakthrough agreements on climate that will strengthen our economy and our security.
I’ve relied on, and benefited from, Caroline’s knowledge and judgment and, as she concludes her tenure on my national security team, I am deeply appreciative of her service.
Adeyemo’s most-recent appointment was as deputy chief of staff to Jacob Lew of the White House’s National Economic Council, where he acted as the Treasury’s lead negotiator on the currency agreement in the Pacific Trade deal.
With the crises in Ukraine and Greece in 2010, 34-year-old Adeyemo also assisted the Treasury in developing its responses.
Of Adeyemo’s appointment, President Obama said:
I am grateful that Caroline’s work will be carried on by Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, who has served in my administration since 2009. At the Treasury Department, he was part of the team that helped coordinate our response to the global recession, laying the foundation for renewed growth at home and abroad.
He helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and he’s been our point person on a range of international economic issues, including negotiations on strong currency agreements around the Trans Pacific Partnership. I will be calling on Wally’s intellect, judgment and dedication as we sustain America’s global economic leadership, which reinforces our national security, and as we work with allies and partners around the world to create jobs and opportunity for all our people.
With his father and mother working as a school principal and nurse, respectively, Adeyemo grew up with his two other siblings in Southern California.
Adeyemo recently explained, during his nominee statement for another position in September, that his desire to serve came from, in part, an experience he had with his father.
This desire to instill the value of service in me led my father to wake me early on the morning of February 11, 1990, to watch as Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Although the images on my television were of a reality thousands of miles from our home in California, I could feel the hope Mandela inspired not only in South Africans but also in my father.
Watching Nelson Mandela go from prisoner to president and start the process of bringing together a country was more than inspirational, it motivated me to imagine how I could use public service to improve the world around me. And it continues to remind me that events far from home can make a meaningful difference in the lives of Americans.”