Mayor-elect Eric Adams has selected five women to be his deputy mayors, leading with Lorraine Grillo, a 20-plus year City Hall veteran, who will become the first deputy mayor — one of the highest ranking positions in city government.

The appointments, announced Monday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, were a striking statement by the incoming mayor who has now installed a core leadership team made up of women, four of whom are women of color. Last week, Adams named Keechant Sewell as the first ever woman to lead the NYPD.

“Anyone that knows me, you know I’m a mama's boy and I was raised by women,” Adams said at the press conference. 

Grillo has served under Mayor Bill de Blasio, most recently as his “recovery czar.” As the mayor-elect’s top deputy, she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of city government and will likely serve as acting mayor when Adams is not in New York City. 

In addition to Grillo, Adams also made the following four appointments—all of whom are women of color: 

  • Anne Williams-Isom, a former deputy commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, who will become the deputy mayor for health and human services;
  • Meera Joshi, a current federal administrator who once served as the Taxi and Limousine commissioner, will become deputy mayor for operations; 
  • Maria Torres-Springer, a former commissioner of the Department of Housing and Preservation Development, will be deputy mayor for economic and workforce development; 
  • Sheena Wright, the CEO of the United Way and the head of Adams’s transition team, will be deputy mayor for strategic initiatives.

All of the incoming deputy mayors except for Wright have held full-time positions in city government, a sign that Adams is not looking for a big shakeup in City Hall. The appointments were also not a complete surprise. The same women had been named to the mayor-elect’s transition team, a list of nearly 800 people who are advising the mayor-elect based on their expertise in policy and industry. 

Adams was joined at the press conference by a cadre of women who formerly held office: former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, former City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman, former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, former State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and former Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Prior to Monday, NY1 had reported sources saying that Grillo was being considered for the post of top deputy mayor.

She has previously served as the head of the Schools Construction Authority, where she completed $25 billion of construction projects and added 75,000 new school seats. In 2018, she led two important city agencies at the same time, when de Blasio also appointed her as the commissioner for the Department of Design and Construction. 

During Monday’s press conference, Grillo spoke about what “sealed the deal” for her to accept the position.

“He wants a GSD government,” she said, referring to Adams’ catchphrase of “get [stuff] done.” “Not everybody understood that. But I will tell you, GSD has been my mantra for 20 years.”