In an interview with The Hill in September, Daley said he was not interested in the chief of staff position.
Coupled with recent business-friendly developments like the tax cut agreement Obama reached with Republicans during the lame duck session, and the potential for a business-friendly pick to replace the outgoing Lawrence Summers as director of the National Economic Council, it appears Obama may be moving to the center and trying to improve once-strained relationships with the business community.
Gardner added that since Daley currently works with JPMorgan Chase in Chicago, which received assistance under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, his hire could be an indication that ties to TARP are no longer as toxic as they once were, and that Wall Street employees would no longer be "persona non grata" in D.C.
However, even if the administration is moving to a more business-friendly posture, don't expect anything dramatic like a rewriting of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Gardner said.
"Regardless, the toned-down rhetoric will be welcomed by the industry and investors in our view," he added.
Daley would replace Emanuel, who left the position to run for mayor of Chicago. If elected, Emanuel would succeed the outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, William Daley's brother.