Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former Arizona governor who led the burgeoning Department of Homeland Security through a host of policy changes in the post 9/11 era, is resigning to head the University of California system.
Napolitano, just the third person to lead the 10-year-old department, told her senior staff Friday she would be leaving for California. She will become the president of the University of California system, which includes UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, among other campuses. The University of California also announced Napolitano’s nomination to be the 20th president of the statewide system.
“The opportunity to work with the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, who serve on the front lines of our nation’s efforts to protect our communities and families from harm, has been the highlight of my professional career,” she said in a statement. “After four plus years of focusing on these challenges, I will be nominated as the next president of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation’s next generation of leaders.”
“I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history,” Napolitano said, “and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.”
Obama issued a statement commending Napolitano for “her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years.”