Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 9, 2014

Andover native is Boston mayor's chief of staff Koh named as Walsh's first key appointment

By Bill Kirk
bkirk@andovertownsman.com

---- — Andover native Daniel Arrigg Koh, a graduate of Phillips Academy, has been tapped as chief of staff for new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Walsh, who was sworn in on Monday, announced over the weekend that Koh, 29, would take the job.

“I’m excited to have Daniel joining our administration and bringing a fresh, new energy to the mayor’s office,” Walsh said in a statement. “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 was born and raised in Andover, graduating from Pike School in 1999 and Phillips in 2003. He has a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

His mother is Dr. Claudia Arrigg of Arrigg Eye and Ear Associates of Lawrence. His father was the state’s public health commissioner from 1997 to 2003 under Gov. William Weld and his successor, the late Gov. Paul Cellucci. He is currently assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working for President Obama.

The younger Koh had been working as general manager of the streaming network operated by the Huffington Post before being tapped by Walsh.

He previously worked as chief of staff to Huffington Post founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, a position that involved helping her craft strategy for and manage the work of 700 people at the Huffington Post Media Group. Before that, he was an adviser to former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Koh previously did strategy and business development for the New England Patriots, nonprofit consulting for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., talent search for executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart and labor relations for Major League Baseball.

The selection of Koh marked the first major appointment of Walsh’s new administration.

Neither Koh nor his parents could be reached for comment.

Seth Bardo, an English teacher at Phillips, said that after teaching for 30 years, he doesn’t remember many students. But, he said, Koh made an impression on him.

“Dan Koh made such a strong impression that I surely will always remember him,” Bardo said.

“What was so striking about Dan, what was so notable about him is that even as a ninth-grader struggling to establish himself at a highly competitive institution, Dan continued to be true to the values that his family imbued in him. Though a young boy, Dan already possessed a high moral standard, one that he did not use to judge others, but only himself.”

Bardo went on to say that Boston will be a better city for having Koh on board.

“The new mayor of Boston is blessed by Dan’s willingness to serve in the public’s interest,” Bardo said. “Dan is a person of uncommon character who will help the new administration to realize its goals in continuing to make this city a thriving metropolis for all its citizens.”

Koh, in an earlier interview with Pike School’s official publication, the Quill, spoke about what drew him to public service.

“I always want to give back to people who don’t have the same opportunities or the platform that I do,” said Koh, referring to his stint with former Mayor Menino in 2011-2012 and his work as legislative intern with the office of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

As chief of staff to Arianna Huffington, he said: “I am tremendously fortunate to work with her. Arianna is open-minded and not just for profit.”

At the Huffington Post, Koh was involved in a variety of projects, and when news reports on the job crisis became too negative, Koh and his team decided to focus on the positive. In July 2012, the website launched a segment called “Opportunity: What Is Working.”

“They received over 700 examples from mayors, entrepreneurs, and citizens all over the world who are helping create jobs,” the Quill story said. “The initiative was so successful, that they launched ‘What Is Working: Small Businesses’ in April 2013.”

Last spring, the Huffington Post brought nonprofit organizations focused on providing jobs together with donors who believe in these missions. More than 200 organizations from 31 states and 110 cities applied for a space on the site. The Huffington Post, utilizing Crowdrise, an online fundraising website, raised more then $1.5 million for the charities from HuffPost’s 50 million unique visitors per month,” the story said.

Recently, according to Quill, Koh was selected to join the NYC hub of Global Shapers, a World Economic Forum community committed to making a difference in cities and states around the world. Members are from all walks of life and are under the age of 33.

Just recently, Koh was named to the Forbes list of “30 under 30” for people in the media category.

The write-up on the Forbes website noted: “As Arianna Huffington’s chief of staff, Koh helped keep a 700-person news organization with seven international editions running smoothly. Now he does the same at HuffPost Live, the ambitious interactive Internet TV venture launched in 2012.”

In addition, Koh is an avid runner, having completed 10 marathons.

Material from The Associated Press and other media outlets was used in this report.