Maju Varghese

Chief Operating Officer

Maju Varghese became the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in February 2022. He brings to this position a long track record of operational, managerial, and legal experience with demonstrated success working in complex, demanding, and high-profile roles.

Most recently, Mr. Varghese served as deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Military Office, overseeing an organization of nearly 3,000 military and civilian personnel who provide essential services to the White House and ensure worldwide, daily, uninterrupted functioning of the presidency. In this role, he managed the Presidential Airlift Group, the Marine Helicopter Squadron, Camp David, the White House Communications Agency, and the White House Medical Unit. He also advised the President and senior White House staff on matters pertaining to military ceremonies and acted as the White House liaison for management of Department of Defense assets.

Before joining the administration, Maju was executive director of the 59th Presidential Inaugural Committee, navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and heightened security concerns. Maju led the planning of all inaugural events, including driving the development of the “Field of Flags” on the National Mall that garnered international attention for its creativity and symbolism. He also guided development and digital fundraising efforts that raised over $60 million for the committee. Maju oversaw the logistics of inaugural programming, including a National Covid-19 Memorial Event at the Lincoln Memorial and “Celebrating America—An Inauguration Night Special”—an Emmy-nominated, nationally televised concert on January 20, 2021, that drew over 20 million viewers.

Maju also served as chief operating officer and senior advisor on the Biden campaign, with oversight of national operations, personnel, travel, vetting, and compliance from the primaries through the general election. When Covid-19 began, Maju worked with health advisers to develop safety protocols for the campaign, including the shift of staffers to remote work and from in-person events to virtual formats. Prior to serving on the campaign, he was chief operating officer of the Hub Project, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, and senior advisor at Dentons, a multinational law firm.

Previously in his career, Maju was a senior member of President Obama’s staff at the White House. He oversaw day-to-day White House operations, including oversight of the budget, personnel, and facilities as assistant to the president for management and administration. Maju also served as special assistant to the president and deputy director of advance, helping to lead the team that coordinates the President’s events and travel. In this capacity, he worked closely with the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of State, foreign governments, the White House Military Office, and the United States Secret Service to plan and execute the President’s overseas travel. Prior to his time at the White House, Maju practiced law, serving as a litigation associate in a New York City law firm.

Maju is an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, and the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University, where he earned his Juris Doctor. The son of immigrants from Kerala, India, Maju lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Julie and their son Evan.