Sisson becomes official as CAO

Considering that Controller Laura Chick billed Karen Sisson last night (and in a Jan. 16 press release) as the new City Administrative Officer, this announcement has a tinge of anti-climax to it. But Mayor Villaraigosa today named Sisson interim head of the office starting Monday and put her up for the permanent job. She would be the first female CAO in the city's history. Release after the jump.


LOS ANGELES - Tapping a proven leader for the City’s top management position, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today appointed Karen Sisson as Interim City Administrative Officer effective Sunday, February 4, 2007.

Sisson will be the first woman to hold the position of City Administrative Officer. Mayor Villaraigosa also appointed Sisson as permanent City Administrative Officer, subject to Council confirmation.

“Karen is uniquely qualified to lead as LA’s City Administrative Officer. With more than two decades of public finance and management experience, Karen offers world-class professional leadership and the integrity, fearlessness and independence this tough job demands,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

“The CAO is one the City’s key financial management positions and it is critical that we provide for a smooth transition. Through Karen’s stewardship of the City budget last year and her demonstrated acumen as Chief Financial Officer of Los Angeles World Airports, she has earned the confidence and respect of members of the City Council, other City department heads and the staff of the CAO’s office,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

“She is an outstanding professional whose combined years of service will pay dividends for the people of Los Angeles.”

Prior to this appointment, Sisson served as Deputy Mayor for Finance and Performance Management and was responsible for the development of the Mayor’s FY 2006-2007 Budget.

Her extensive career in public finance includes eight years as Chief Financial Officer of Los Angeles World Airports, where she was an architect of LAX’s post-9/11 Interim Financial Plan. The plan’s success resulted in LAX receiving a double-A rating from Standard & Poor’s - the highest ever rating for a general airport revenue bond.

In her new role, Sisson follows William T. Fujioka, who retired after more than seven years of distinguished service as City Administrative Officer. Sisson began serving as Acting City Administrative Officer in early December.

Sisson has held progressively responsible positions with the City of Pasadena, the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles and one of the City’s financial advisory firms, Public Resources Advisory Group. Her private sector experience includes positions with Countrywide Funding Corporation and the former Chemical Bank in New York.

She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago in Finance and Public Management, and a BA in International Relations from Pomona College.

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