The White House on Friday announced that former acting budget chief Jeffrey Zients will replace Gene Sperling as the top economic advisor to President Barack Obama.

Sperling will step down at the end of the year after serving over four years in the Obama administration.

“Over the past four and a half years, Gene has been one of my closest advisors and a close friend.  Gene understands better than anybody that our top priority as a nation is making sure that our economy once again works for working Americans,” the president said in a statement.

Obama credited Sperling with helping the U.S. “avoid a second Great Depression” and for assisting with legislation designed to benefit small businesses struggling to recover from the recent financial crisis.

Sperling also advised on myriad policy decisions affecting housing, tax reform, manufacturing and job creation, the president said.

Sperling first worked at the Treasury department during Obama's first term before replacing Larry Summers as chairman of the White House National Economic Council. Summers is now a top candidate to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Zients twice served as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

He was also considered for two Cabinet posts, secretary of commerce and U.S. trade representative, according to Reuters, but those jobs went to Penny Pritzker, a businesswoman from Chicago and top Obama fundraiser, and Mike Froman, a White House adviser on international economics, respectively.

Obama noted in his statement that Zients was a successful entrepreneur before leaving the private sector for public service.

“Jeff has a sterling reputation as a business leader, and he earned the admiration and respect of everyone he worked with during his four years in leadership positions at the Office of Management and Budget,” the president said. “ I am certain that in Jeff’s hands we will continue to have strong leadership of our economic policy team and his advice will be critical as we keep moving this country forward and building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.”

Obama was scheduled to make a formal announcement later today.

 

 

 

 

 

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