Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta resigned July 10, The Washington Post reported. The news came a day after the White House announced two major breaches of U.S. government databases last year in which personnel records and sensitive files holding the information of at least 22.1 million people were exposed. President Obama said the OPM needed “new leadership.”
Archuleta wrote an email to her staff the morning of her resignation saying, “I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership to step in, enabling the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allowing the employees at OPM to continue their important work.”
Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, will replace Archuleta in an interim capacity until a permanent replacement is appointed by the president.
Archuleta, who led the agency for 17 months, has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats over the past five weeks since she announced a hack that exposed the employment files of 4.2 million current and former federal workers. That criticism grew to a breaking point when the full extent of the breach was made public on July 9.
The cyberattacks, which The Washington Post says came from the Chinese government, are one of the president’s top priorities, said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
The data breach is predicted by some to be one of the most potentially damaging in U.S. government history.