In another move to center, president to name Sperling as economic adviser

President Obama will announce Friday that Gene Sperling will serve as director of his National Economic Council.

Obama will make the announcement during a trip to the Thompson Creek Window Co. manufacturer in Maryland, where he will also comment on the December unemployment report. The report is expected to show the economy added as many as 170,000 jobs in December.

Sperling, whose appointment has been widely anticipated, is a former Clinton administration official who has been serving as an adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He served as a national economic adviser for President Clinton, coordinating the administration’s economic policy, including passage of the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act.

The appointment is another step by the White House to move to the center and to improve Obama's relationship with business. It follows by a day Obama's announcement that former Clinton Commerce Department Secretary William Daley will serve as chief of staff at the White House.

During former President George W. Bush’s administration, Sperling worked in the private sector, and most recently earned nearly $900,000 working part-time on a philanthropic project for Goldman Sachs, and roughly another $150,000 delivering speeches primarily to financial firms.

That work has made Sperling's appointment as an economic adviser controversial with the left.

Obama will also announce several other changes to his economic team, according to a White House official. Jason Furman, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, will serve as an assistant to the president for economic policy and as principal deputy director of the council.

Katharine Abraham will be nominated as a member of the council of economic advisers, and Heather Higginbottom, deputy director of the White House domestic policy council, will be nominated as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.