White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley will hand over many day-to-day responsibilities to senior administration adviser Pete Rouse, according to reports.
Daley made the announcement at a Monday staff meeting, The Wall Street Journal first reported.
Rouse will assume an expanded role overseeing and coordinating with the West Wing staff while Daley will focus more on improving the administration’s relationship with outsiders.
Reports said White House officials insisted Daley was still in charge and that the change in portfolio should not be viewed as a demotion. The Wall Street Journal said Rouse had moved into his expanded role weeks ago.
The change in Daley’s portfolio comes as the White House begins to gear up its reelection effort. Daley announced in October that he would return home to Chicago after the campaign.
Daley, who served as Commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, was brought into the Obama White House with hopes he could forge better relationships with business leaders.
As chief of staff, he has faced challenges dealing with the GOP-controlled House, most notably when Republican leaders rejected President Obama’s initial request to schedule an address to a joint session of Congress in September.
The White House, though, has publicly defended Daley’s performance. In September, press secretary Jay Carney said Daley was an “excellent leader” and had handled his relationships with lawmakers with “great skill and elan.”