Obama names Julia Pierson to head Secret Service

Rachel Rose Hartman

Updated 3:32 p.m. ET

President Barack Obama on Tuesday named Secret Service chief of staff Julia Pierson as the first female director of the agency.

"Over her 30 years of experience with the Secret Service, Julia has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day," Obama said in a statement. "Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.”

Pierson has served as chief of staff at the agency, which protects the nation's political leaders—including the president—and investigates financial crimes, since Aug. 3, 2008.

Pierson's appointment follows disorder at the Secret Service following a 2012 prostitution scandal that occurred during the tenure of Director Mark Sullivan, who retired in February. During the unfolding of that case, which involved multiple agents on a presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia, Sullivan publicly addressed criticism of the agency's culture and reports of its tolerance for sexual misconduct.