Washington: US President-elect Donald Trump on Monday nominated Ben Carson to be secretary of housing and urban development.
He is a retired neurosurgeon and the first African-American nominated to Trump's team.
"Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities," Trump said in a statement, as per AFP.
Carson, who like Trump has never held public office and has no government experience, recently said he was not interested in serving in Trump`s administration because he lacked experience in the federal government.
However, in accepting the appointment, Carson said, "I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need," as per Reuters.
Carson briefly led the Republican presidential pack during the primaries, offering voters an unruffled, slow-talking persona that contrasted sharply with high-decibel slugfest around him.
His bid, which initially gained support among Christian conservatives, ultimately fizzled as he stumbled presenting concrete policies and answering questions about key issues.
The Seventh Day Adventist had presented himself as an alternative to Trump, preaching tolerance and compromise but sometimes unleashing blunt rhetoric.
Trump mocked him on the campaign trail, accusing Carson of having a "pathological" temper.
Carson nevertheless endorsed the real estate billionaire after withdrawing from the race in March, describing his former rival as "a very intelligent man who cares deeply about America."
And he came to Trump`s defense following the release of a 2005 audiotape in which he bragged about groping women.Carson`s history is the epitome of the American dream.
The 65-year-old grew up poor, raised by an illiterate mother who married at age 13 but left her bigamist husband.
He developed into a model student, earning a scholarship to Yale University and attending the University of Michigan medical school.
At 33, he became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, earning global acclaim in 1987 by performing the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the head.
He retired in 2013 to hit the conservative talk circuit, describing how faith and family values had helped him as a drifting teenager to realize his dream.
At HUD, Carson would lead an agency whose mission has been to help middle- and low-income people find homes. It also runs a program aimed at replacing distressed public housing with mixed-income neighborhoods.
The department also oversees mortgage lending and other housing programs.
(With Agency inputs)