President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his intention to appoint Julia Pierson as the next director of the U.S. Secret Service. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.
Pierson will be the first woman to hold the post, replacing former Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, who resigned on February 22.
Sullivan, who had served as director since 2006, faced criticism after Secret Service agents brought prostitutes to their Cartagena, Colombia, hotel rooms in April 2012, then created a scene by underpaying them ahead of Obama's visit for the Summit of the Americas.
The prostitution scandal led to the termination of eight Secret Service officers and prompted new rules governing agents' consumption of alcohol and forbidding foreign hotel-guests.
In a Tuesday press release, Obama hailed Pierson's experience, but did not directly address the novelty of her gender.
"Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own," said Obama.
Before joining the Secret Service in 1983, Pierson worked for three years as an Orlando, Fla., police officer.
A mission statement on the Secret Service's website notes the agency's two quite distinct purposes: "to safeguard the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy, and to protect national leaders, visiting heads of state and government, designated sites and National Special Security Events."