President Barack Obama says his chief of staff William Daley is resigning after a year on the job to return to his native Chicago and spend more time with his family.
Obama says Daley will be replaced by Budget Director Jack Lew, whom Obama called the "clear choice" for one of the toughest jobs in Washington.
Although Daley's tenure was rocky and he's leaving earlier than expected, Obama praised him warmly in comments in the State Dining Room on Monday. Obama said Daley had performed "extraordinary work" in an "extraordinary year."
Both Daley and Lew stood at Obama's side as the president delivered brief remarks, but neither man spoke.
Daley's job as day-to-day manager of the White House operation had already been changing - if not diminishing - as senior Obama aide Pete Rouse took over more of those duties in November. Yet Daley was not expected to leave the job and return to Chicago, where his family has long held a political dynasty, until after the November presidential election.
Officials confirmed the news earlier on Monday on condition of anonymity because the president had not yet announced it. The president made the announcement Monday afternoon.
Obama will now have the third chief of his staff of his presidency in the midst of a re-election year.
Daley's replacement by Lew will be effective at the end of the month.
Obama chose Daley to be his White House chief of staff in January 2011, but the former banker and veteran political fighter Daley has had a somewhat rocky tenure.
In the least, the job has not seemed like the best fit.
Daley had been brought in to improve relations with the business community, Republican lawmakers and others with whom he had built ties over the years. He replaced Rahm Emanuel, who is now Chicago's mayor.
Daley served as commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton and ran Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. He's the brother of recently retired Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and the youngest son of legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Daley's resignation was first reported by the Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)