Joe Biden Taps 39 Year Old Nigerian American Adewale Adeyemo To Serve As Deputy Treasury Secretary

Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a Nigerian-born attorney and former senior international economic adviser during the Obama administration, will serve as deputy Treasury secretary under former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who Biden plans to appoint to lead the Treasury Department.

The Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the US government, advises and assists the Secretary of Treasury in the supervision and direction of the powerful Department of Treasury and its activities, and succeeds the Secretary in her absence, sickness, or unavailability. The Deputy Secretary plays a primary role in the formulation and execution of Treasury policies and programs in all aspects of the department’s activities. In addition, the Deputy Secretary is the only official other than the secretary who can sign a Treasury Order-a document that delegates authority residing in the Secretary or Deputy Secretary to another Treasury official, establishes Treasury policy, and establishes the reporting relationships and supervision of officials.

Mr. Adeyemo’s life journey is the perfect meaning of the immigrant’s dream in the United States. It is a story of hard work, inspiration, and strict family values that came together 25 years ago when early in the morning of February 9, 1990, he was steered out of bed by his father, Joseph Adeyemo, now principal at the Terrace View Elementary School, Colton, in California.

It was a day of history. Nelson Mandela, legendary freedom fighter and later president of South Africa, was walking out from prison after 27 years in prison, and the older Adeyemo wanted his son to witness history as a source of inspiration.

“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” the younger Adeyemo told the U.S. Senate Committee On Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs confirmation hearings for the position of Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development.

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his bachelor’s degree and the Yale University Law school, where he was the student–body president, the desire for public service developed in 2009 when Mr. Adeyemo joined the Treasury Department after law school, working alongside policymakers charged with coordinating the international response to the global recession.

In 2010, he was seconded to the team charged to implement a part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, where he worked under Senator Elizabeth Warren as the first Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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