Top State Department official out after 3 months


Story highlights

  • Maliz Beams had been appointed as counselor over the summer
  • A State Department spokesperson confirmed that he would be "stepping away from his role"

Maliz Beams had been appointed as counselor – a senior position not requiring congressional confirmation – over the summer. In this role, he served as a special adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in his efforts to reorganize the agency.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN Beams would be "stepping away from his role at the Department of State and is returning to your home in Boston. "

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"We appreciate Maliz sharing her expertise with us over the past few months," said the spokesperson, speaking on background. "We wish you the best of luck in your next venture."

Deputy chief of staff Christine Ciccone "will step in to lead the redesign effort and manage its daily activities," the spokesperson said.

Prior to joining the State Department, Beams held senior leadership positions in the financial services realm, most recently as the CEO of VOYA Financial Retirement Services

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The role of State Department counselor is not defined, which has allowed past secretaries of state to task their counselors with a variety of different projects. Historically, it has been filled by both State Department employees and political appointees, and office-holders have held similarly varied degrees of influence over the secretaries they've served.

Cheryl Mills, for example, held the position under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, serving as one of its closest and most trusted advisers. More recently, under former Secretary of State John Kerry, the position was occupied by senior foreign service officers picked from within the agency.

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