February 25th, 2011
05:01 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the first time in White House history the social events guru and keeper of the coveted invite lists will be an openly gay man.
Jeremy Bernard will become President Obama's third White House social secretary, filling a job that has become a revolving door of sorts since the president took office.
"Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People's House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways," President Obama said in a written statement.
Bernard will replace Julianna Smoot, who is leaving after less than one year on the job to join Obama's re-election campaign in Chicago.
Smoot's predecessor, Obama family friend Desiree Rogers, added notoriety and intrigue to the social secretary role as she was often criticized for seeking out the spotlight. Rogers' tenure was marred by the infamous Salahi party crasher incident at the first state dinner over which she presided.
Bernard has been serving as senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to France at the embassy in Paris. He said in the White House statement he is "deeply humbled" by the appointment.
Serving as a California finance consultant for the Obama campaign, Bernard helped raise millions in California during the presidential election. After Obama won, he moved to Washington and was appointed White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.
"I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead," Bernard said.
Chad Griffin, a former Clinton White House staffer and political strategist based in California, knows Bernard from philanthropic, political and fundraising circles in Los Angeles.
He said Bernard's talents and experience will be a "tremendous asset" to the White House and "as the first man and first LGBT American to hold the post, Jeremy's appointment underscores the President's commitment to diversity and should be celebrated by all Americans," Griffin told CNN.
As social secretary Bernard will run the White House Social Office with two male deputies, Ebs Burnough and Joe Reinstein, and Assistant Social Secretary Samantha Tubman. He’ll be responsible coordinating and executing official social events at the White House.