By Peter Schroeder - 01/03/13 06:10 PM EST
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is reportedly planning to leave the Obama administration at the end of January, likely before Congress addresses the debt limit.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that the president's economic point man has told the White House he is planning to leave, with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew the leading candidate to replace him, citing two people familiar with the matter.
A departure at the end of January would come during a narrow window in what has been a seemingly endless string of fiscal and economic events. The White House just finished hammering out a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," and the next budget confrontation with congressional Republicans be over raising the $16.4 trillion debt limit in late February or early March. Around that same time, Washington will have to revisit a two-month delay on automatic spending cuts included in the fiscal-cliff compromise, as well as funding to keep the government running.
Lew previously served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Obama; he is known for his expertise on fiscal and budgetary issues, rather than financial markets. Bloomberg cited sources saying the president may tap a Wall Street executive as a top Treasury deputy if Lew is selected.
A Treasury spokesman said Geithner was planning a late January exit, but was not more specific.
"Secretary Geithner has previously stated that he plans to be at Treasury until around the inauguration. We do not plan to make any further announcements about the timing of the Secretary’s departure until after his successor is named," the spokesman said.