Trump Nominates New CFO for USDOT

May 3, 2019

President Trump has (finally) nominated a Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. Department of Transportation, a post that has been vacant since Shoshana Lew left at the end of the Obama Administration.

On April 29, the White House announced that Trump intended to nominate John Kramer as Chief Financial Officer and also appoint him to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Budget and Programs, the latter of which does not require Senate confirmation. (The head budget person at USDOT wears two hats.) The nomination was formally transmitted to the Senate yesterday.

(Ed. Note: Prior to the Senate’s big nominations reform agreement in 2011, both hats (CFO and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs) required Senate confirmation, which was always handled jointly by the Senate, because the two posts are held by the same person. Post-reform, CFO still requires Senate approval but Assistant Secretary does not, even though the two jobs are held by the same person. That’s reform for you in a nutshell.)

Per S. Res. 116, Kramer’s nomination for CFO is subject to expedited procedures and was not referred to any Senate committee. Instead, the nomination is held at the desk and the chairman of the Senate committee of jurisdiction (in this case, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which created the CFO Act of 1990) sends the nominee a written questionnaire. Once the Senate receives the questionnaire, the nomination goes straight to the Executive Calendar (after 10 days), bypassing committees altogether, unless any Senator requests that the nomination be referred to committee.

Kramer has been serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs since December 2017 (we’re not sure what the delay was in getting the White House to actually make the nomination). He has an extensive background in corporate finance – after getting a masters in accounting (NYU) and a MBA (Harvard) in the 1970s, he worked for 18 years in a variety of financial positions for Philip Morris.

After leaving Morris in 1997, Kramer held a series of different corporate CFO jobs (there appears to have been some bouncing around back in the days of the dot-com boom/bust). Most recently, he was Group CFO of what started out as the flight academy in Orlando where Delta Air Lines’ subsidiary Comair trained its prospective pilots. After Comair’s demise it became the Delta Connection Academy and then changed its name to Aerosim. Kramer presided over the sale of Aerosim to L-3 Communications in 2016.

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