SAN FRANCISCO—On March 13, Mayor London Breed announced that Deputy Chief Jeanine Nicholson is the next San Francisco Fire Chief. Deputy Chief Nicholson is a 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Fire Department and will be the first LGBT Fire Chief, and the second woman to run the Department, following Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, in addition to her current position as Deputy Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief Nicholson served the SFFD in various capacities on both the fire side and the EMS side. She has served as a firefighter, paramedic, lieutenant, captain and a Battalion Chief. In her current role as Deputy Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief Nicholson managed a number of Divisions, including Support Services, Homeland Security, Human Resources, Investigative Services, and Assignment/Personnel Offices.
“Deputy Chief Nicholson is a dedicated public servant and a tremendous leader and I can think of no better person to serve as our next Fire Chief,” said Mayor Breed. “Her experience and her resiliency have prepared her to lead the men and women who are out there every day protecting our residents, and I am confident she will be ready to lead the Department on day one. I also want to thank Chief Joanne Hayes-White for her service and her support as we go through this transition process.”
“I am honored and humbled to take on the position of Fire Chief for the San Francisco Fire Department,” said Deputy Chief Nicholson. “San Francisco is an incredible city with unique challenges resulting from our dense urban environment and our ever-present earthquake risk. I am committed to meeting these challenges and continuing the work to make our City safer for all residents. I want to thank Mayor Breed for entrusting me with this position, Chief Hayes-White for selecting me to be part of her command staff, and the men and women of the Fire Department for the work they do to keep our City and citizens safe.”
Chief Hayes-White announced in October 2018 that she would be retiring in 2019, and committed to staying on to run the Department while a successor was found. Deputy Chief Nicholson will work with Chief Hayes-White on a transition plan in the coming weeks.
“My heartiest congratulations to Chief Nicholson,” said Fire Chief Hayes-White. “Jeanine has been a dedicated member of the San Francisco Fire Department for over 25 years. From early on I realized her potential and leadership qualities, so her appointment last year to Deputy Chief of Administration was an easy choice for me. The City will be in very capable hands with Chief Nicholson leading the San Francisco Fire Department and we’re both committed to a smooth transition.”
Deputy Chief Nicholson joined the San Francisco Fire Department in January 1994 and spent the first 24 years of her career in the field. She has had an opportunity to work in every district of San Francisco.