| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Obama's economic adviser to leave

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Obama will replace Gene Sperling, his chief economic adviser and West Wing workaholic, with Jeffrey Zients, a top aide who has filled in as acting budget director and who led a White House effort to streamline government.

Zients would replace Sperling as director of Obama's National Economic Council, a post Sperling held for nearly three years, serving as Obama's economic whisperer during fiscal wrangles with Congress. Sperling plans to leave Jan. 1.

Obama announced the change on Friday, describing Sperling as “one of my closest advisers and a close friend.” He praised Zients as an admired and respected aide in the White House with “a sterling reputation as a business leader.”

Zients is a management consultant who joined the White House in 2009 as chief performance officer, heading an effort to streamline government and cut costs. Obama later chose him twice as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and he has been considered for other top posts.

Sperling served in the same top economic post under President Clinton. He's said to be leaving for personal reasons. His wife, a writer and producer, works in Los Angeles, and Sperling has been commuting between Washington and California. Before becoming director of the National Economic Council, Sperling worked at the Treasury Department advising then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner during the first two years of the Obama administration.

Sperling is famous for his long hours and for an ability to blend policy and politics with a negotiator's skill.

Upon hearing the news, Kenneth Baer, a former White House budget office official, posted on Twitter: “When Gene leaves the WH, will his workhorse of a coffee maker go to the Smithsonian?”

Zients joined the White House after 20 years of business experience as a chief executive, management consultant and entrepreneur. He was a founder and managing partner of the investment firm Portfolio Logic.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. McCarthy withdraws candidacy for speaker
  2. Ex-CEO of Chicago Public Schools to plead guilty to $23 million kickback scheme
  3. Alaska to feel remnants of former Hurricane Oho
  4. SeaWorld’s expansion of orca tanks criticized
  5. Oregon college town sets gun rights protest for Obama visit
  6. Dozens of terror plots disrupted in America, FBI claims
  7. Foes of California mandatory vaccine law fail in repeal bid
  8. $20M push to legalize marijuana rolls toward vote in Ohio
  9. About 6,000 drug inmates await early release from prison
  10. Coal industry seeks unusual partner in UN green climate fund
  11. Hero in French train terrorist attack injured in bar brawl