Top State Department official leaves after 3 months

Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 27, 2017

A senior State Department official appointed by the Trump administration is leaving the agency after just three months on the job, CNN has learned.

Maliz Beams had been appointed as counselor -- a senior position not requiring congressional confirmation -- over the summer. In this role, she served as a special adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in his efforts to reorganize the agency.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN Beams would be "stepping away from her role at the Department of State and is returning to her home in Boston."

"We appreciate Maliz sharing her expertise with us over the past few months," said the spokesperson, speaking on background. "We wish her the best of luck in her next venture."

Deputy chief of staff Christine Ciccone "will step in to lead the redesign effort and manage its daily activities," the spokesperson said.

Prior to joining the State Department, Beams held senior leadership positions in the financial services realm, most recently as the CEO of VOYA Financial Retirement Services.

The role of State Department counselor is not strongly defined, which has allowed past secretaries of state to task their counselors with a variety of different projects. Historically, it has been filled by both career State Department employees and political appointees, and office-holders have held similarly varied degrees of influence over the secretaries they've served.

Cheryl Mills, for example, held the position under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, serving as one of her closest and most trusted advisers. More recently, under former Secretary of State John Kerry, the position was occupied by senior foreign service officers picked from within the agency.