President Obama appointed veteran U.S. Secret Service official Julia Pierson as the first female director in its 148-year history nearly a year after a prostitution scandal tarred the agency’s reputation, reports the Washington Post. Pierson, 53, who began her career as an agent in Miami three decades ago, has served as chief of staff to outgoing director Mark Sullivan for the past five years. Peers described her as a skilled and dedicated manager who has helped oversee a $250 million project to modernize communications and data-management networks. “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,” Obama said. Last April, in preparing for Obama's visit to Colombia for a Western Hemisphere summit, several agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms, where an argument ensued over payment. In all, 13 male agents and officers were involved in a scandal that highlighted a culture of macho behavior on the road with the president's protective detail. Several agents were dismissed.