7 Jan 2011

Obama chooses Daley as new chief of staff

2:23 pm on 7 January 2011

US President Barack Obama has named former Commerce Secretary William Daley as his new chief of staff.

Mr Daley, 62, will be the long-term successor to Rahm Emanuel, who left the administration last year to seek election as mayor of Chicago.

Announcing the appointment at the White House on Thursday, Mr Obama said William Daley had a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow the US economy.

As well as his tenure as former president Bill Clinton's commerce secretary, he helped to negotiate congressional ratification of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The appointment won an immediate endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce, which has sparred with Mr Obama for two years, and spent millions of dollars supporting Republicans in the mid-term elections.

Officials say Pete Rouse, who has been Mr Obama's chief of staff on an interim basis, will be elevated to the role of counsellor to the president.

Earlier this week Mr Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs announced he would leave his post to advocate for the president outside the White House and to transition into his 2012 re-election campaign.