Leaving so soon? US Ebola czar to jump ship, return to private sector

Ron Klain is shown in this Dec. 9, 2000 photo in Tallahassee, Fla.
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Ron Klain is shown in this Dec. 9, 2000 photo in Tallahassee, Fla.

Ron Klain, the Democratic power broker and Washington attorney appointed by President Barack Obama in October to manage the U.S's response to its isolated Ebola outbreaks, is set to depart his post early next year.

Klain will leave his newly created job on March 1. The news was first reported by Fortune.com late Saturday and confirmed to CNBC by Steve Case, Klain's private sector boss at Case Holdings. Klain also serves as general counsel to Revolution, a venture capital firm founded by the former AOL chief.

As far as presidential appointments go, Klain's tenure as Ebola czar was relatively brief. The White House appointed him on October 17, as the Centers for Disease Control and other government agencies grappled to contain the public's jitters over several high-profile Ebola infection cases.

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"Ron agreed to serve the country as Ebola coordinator for 130 days, and will return to Revolution on March 1," Case told CNBC via e-mail.

Klain is a political veteran who served as chief of staff under two sitting vice presidents. He took a sabbatical from his Revolution gig to coordinate the government's response to the Ebola scare, shortly after the first case appeared. At the time, critics chided Klain's appointment as political, and faulted his lack of public health or medical credentials.

In late September, a Liberian national who traveled to the U.S. became the country's very first patient zero, and died within weeks after his condition worsened.

In the chaotic days that followed, several health care workers were diagnosed with Ebola but were treated successfully and released. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey found themselves at odds with the federal government over a mandatory quarantine policy.

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After several weeks with no mass outbreak and only one recorded death from the virus, there have been no new domestic infections reported in about a month.