(Carolyn Kaster/AP) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Obama has nominated John H. Thompson to head the U.S. Census Bureau.

Thompson, who was nominated Thursday, is president and CEO of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), a private-sector research group. He also held various positions with the Census Bureau between 1987 and 2002, according to a biography provided by the White House.

The Census Project, a group that represents stakeholders for the decennial survey, applauded Obama’s decision on Friday and encouraged the Senate to quickly confirm Thompson “so that the bureau can continue serious planning for Census 2020.”

“John Thompson has solid senior-level Census Bureau experience,” the group said. “He will make an excellent Census Bureau director.”

The position of census director has been vacant since August 2012.

Thompson has served in executive roles for NORC since 2002, when he became executive vice president. He became head of the company in 2008.

At the Census Bureau, Thompson served in several management positions, including associate director for the decennial census and chief of the decennial management division. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Virginia Tech.

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