Gibson, the son of a World War II Army Air Corps tail gunner and
grandson of a World War I veteran, went to West Point before joining
the elite Army Rangers. He joined the VA only three months ago as
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in April for a VA trauma center in
Tampa, Florida, Gibson praised the "cutting-edge medical care" at
the center and touted the dedication of VA employees.
"When veterans and their families arrive here facing what seem to be
insurmountable challenges, they experience the embrace of these
caring men and women and they come to learn that these extraordinary
professionals don't accept 'hopeless,'" he said.
Obama accepted Eric Shinseki's resignation as Veterans Affairs
secretary on Friday after revelations that widespread delays in
medical care for veterans were covered up by VA officials. The
revelations stirred outrage and embarrassed the president.
Gibson has a masters degree in economics from the University of
Missouri and another in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy
School of Government.
Gibson spent 20 years as a banker, rising to vice chairman and chief
financial officer of Birmingham, Alabama-based AmSouth Bancorp, a
bank with branches across several southern states.
As a banker, Gibson built a reputation for his ability to turn
around troubled operations. When AmSouth bought First American Corp
in 1999, Gibson was put in charge of fixing an operation that had
been losing customers.
Gibson has worked extensively with service members and their
families during his tenure as head of the United Service
Organizations, Inc. The USO is a nonprofit that provides services
and support to members of the military and their families.
[to top of second column]
Gibson has said his stint at the USO, which he took over in 2009,
sensitized him to the needs of the military families. The
organization – known for sending comedian Bob Hope on tours to
entertain troops – adapted to modern warfare under Gibson's
direction by developing “USO in a Box” care packages that could
deliver video games, movies and treats to boost morale among
soldiers in remote outposts in Afghanistan.
Obama acknowledged that with a scant three months under his belt as
VA deputy secretary, Gibson would have “a learning curve” in running
the agency. But the president said that since the crisis at the VA
was due to failing to identify the problem of the health care
delays, Gibson would be able to jump in right away.
“It requires execution. It requires discipline. It requires focus.
Those are things that Sloan has,” Obama said.
Among those mentioned as possible successors to Shinseki as
secretary are former Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, Representative
Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in the Iraq war and is a
former assistant VA secretary, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.
(The story fixes typo in 1st paragraph. No other changes to text)
(With additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Alden
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