JAN 10, 2012, Washington D.C. – U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Monday that William M. Daley, the White House chief of staff, was stepping down, after a frustrating year in which Mr. Daley struggled to find his footing in a ferociously partisan Washington. He will be replaced by Jacob J. Lew, the budget director.
Mr. Obama, who recruited Mr. Daley a year ago, announced the departure at 3 p.m. in the State Dining Room. It is the most significant shakeup yet in the Obama White House, which has prided itself on a lack of internal drama, with a tightly knit circle of senior advisers playing a dominant role.
“Obviously this was not easy news to hear,” Mr. Obama said, adding that he had asked Mr. Daley to reconsider his decision to go home to Chicago, but that “the pull of the hometown we both love, a city that’s been synonymous with the Daley family for generations, was too great.”
Jack Lew has extensive experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill, having served in the Clinton administration and twice as O.M.B. director.Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesJacob J. Lew, known as Jack, has extensive experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill, having served in two administrations and for a speaker of the House.
Mr. Daley submitted his resignation to Mr. Obama last week, a senior administration official said, having discussed his future with his wife over the Christmas holiday and concluding that this was the right time to leave. “It’s been a pretty frenetic year,” the official said. “He felt like it was a propitious time.”
His successor, Mr. Lew, known as Jack, is a well-regarded veteran of the White House budget office, State Department and Wall Street. With his long experience on Capitol Hill, officials said he would be able to forge better ties to Congress.
“Jack has had one of the other most difficult jobs in Washington,” Mr. Obama said. “Jack’s economic advice has been invaluable and he has my complete trust, both because of his mastery of the numbers, but because of the values behind those numbers.”
Mr. Daley, an affable former banker who is the son and brother of legendary Chicago mayors, proved to be an awkward fit on the Obama team. Recruited largely for his deal-making skills and ties to the business world, he failed to help his boss strike a huge budget deal with Republicans in the House.
After that failed negotiation, which led to months of acrimony between the White House and Congress, some of Mr. Daley’s duties were transferred to Pete Rouse, a low-profile former Congressional aide with closer ties to the president.
The news of Mr. Daley’s departure was first reported by the Tribune Company newspaper chain.
That Mr. Daley was frustrated by Washington was no secret. In October, he told a Chicago TV station that he planned to leave the White House in January 2013, at the end of Mr. Obama’s first term. It was not clear what precipitated his decision to leave now.
During his tenure, Mr. Daley had come under criticism for not adequately cultivating leaders in Congress. Some Democrats bridled when he publicly criticized Democrats, as well as Republicans, for being responsible for the gridlock in Washington.