Boston Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh on Saturday named Daniel Arrigg Koh, currently the general manager of Huffington Post Live, as his chief of staff — the first major appointment in the administration that takes over control of the city on Monday.
“I’m excited to have Daniel joining our administration and bring a fresh, new energy to the mayor’s office,” Walsh said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon. “He has broad experience about City Hall and a deep understanding of managing a large, fast-paced organization. We have great talent joining us, and I know Daniel will help me transform the way we do things in Boston.”
Koh, a 29-year-old native of Andover with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard and experience working in City Hall, was one of several candidates rumored to be under consideration in recent days.
“I’m honored to join [Marty Walsh] as we begin this new chapter in Boston’s history,” Koh tweeted after word of his appointment became official. He could not be reached for further comment.
The appointment capped what was a slower-than-expected selection process. Walsh had vowed to name a chief of staff by Christmas.
By selecting Koh, a relative political outsider, Walsh sent what may be his clearest signal yet of how his administration will operate. Instead of choosing a chief of staff from the ranks of his current political orbit, Walsh instead tapped the relatively young Koh — whose experience lies more in management than in city politics.
Before working for Huffington Post Live, an online streaming video channel, Koh served as chief of staff for the website’s namesake, media mogul Arianna Huffington.
He has worked for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and as an adviser to outgoing Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a position through the Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow program in which he advised on major policy initiatives, speeches, and communications strategy.
“Dan Koh is a great choice,” said Neil Sullivan, who served as chief policy adviser to former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn and met Koh while the latter was working in City Hall. “He is very action-oriented and very responsive — and from my nine years on the fifth floor of City Hall, I know that’s what matters.”
The choice is similar to Menino’s 2010 selection of Mitchell Weiss, who has served as the mayor’s chief of staff during his final term. Weiss and Koh hold Harvard MBAs and completed political fellowships facilitated by the Cambridge institution, and are also friends.
“The thing that Dan and I have in common is that we both think of ourselves as public entrepreneurs,” Weiss said in a phone interview Saturday. “He’s got a ton of energy, he’s an incredibly kind and energetic human being, he’s full of ideas and he has a knack for realizing them. He’s an excellent choice.”
Walsh, who was elected in November, has come under fire from political observers for what has been perceived publicly as a slow transition. Until Koh’s appointment the incoming administration had not named a single Cabinet member or government appointee.
Additional staff appointments are expected to be announced Sunday and Monday, as well as information about potential overhauls and consolidations of some city departments and programs, according to a Walsh adviser.
However, the mayor-elect said on Saturday morning, as he helped served lunch at the Pine Street Inn, he will probably hold off on naming key members of his incoming administration until after Monday’s swearing-in and inaugural gala. “We’re not going to announce the Cabinet, probably, for a couple of weeks, because we’re looking at the structure . . . And plus, it’s six weeks [between election and inauguration]; I’m not going to rush into decisions that I have to live with for the next two, three years.”