Kemp promotes two key deputies to powerful health agency posts

01/21/2021 — Atlanta, Georgia — Governor Brian Kemp receives information from his Chief Operations Officer Ryan Loke (left) during a COVID-19 update press conference at the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, Thursday, January 21, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
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01/21/2021 — Atlanta, Georgia — Governor Brian Kemp receives information from his Chief Operations Officer Ryan Loke (left) during a COVID-19 update press conference at the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, Thursday, January 21, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Gov. Brian Kemp is promoting two of his top deputies to powerful posts as a longtime state leader prepares to retire.

The governor announced Tuesday that Caylee Noggle, his deputy chief of staff, will succeed Frank Berry as commissioner of the Department of Community Health. Berry is retiring at the end of the month as leader of the agency, which allocates $17 billion in healthcare spending each year.

Noggle was Kemp’s interim chief of staff after top aide Tim Fleming stepped down, and she also was assigned to be the chief of staff to Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey as the global coronavirus pandemic worsened. She previously served as the chief management officer in the governor’s office.

Caylee Noggle
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Caylee Noggle

Kemp also tapped Ryan Loke as the deputy commissioner at the Department of Community Health and named him the state’s Chief Health Policy Officer. Loke, now Kemp’s deputy chief operating officer, was previously the governor’s health policy adviser and played a key role in shaping the Republican’s healthcare agenda.

In another development, longtime communications expert Bert Brantley was named the governor’s deputy chief of staff, expanding his duties in state government. Brantley was previously the deputy chief of staff for external affairs.