Jay Carney, a former journalist and spokesman for Vice President Biden, will replace outgoing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
Carney is expected to take on the job next month; Gibbs has said he would stay at his post until mid-February.
By selecting Carney, Obama passed over longtime aides and deputy press secretaries Bill Burton and Josh Earnest. Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki and Democratic strategist Karen Finney were also said to be considered.
Stephanie Cutter, another administration official rumored to be a consideration for the podium, was promoted to deputy senior adviser.
The change was announced in an e-mail to White House staff Thursday from Bill Daley, Obama's new chief of staff. Carney’s position was one of several staff moves announced in the memo.
It also said that Alyssa Mastromonaco and Nancy-Ann DeParle have been elevated to deputy chiefs of staff, with Mostromonoco focused on politics and DeParle on domestic policy. DeParle oversaw the healthcare reform debate for the White House.
Rob Nabors has been named Obama's new legislative affairs director, but Daley said in his e-mail that he has asked current director Phil Schilliro to stay on a bit longer.
“Phil has made extraordinary contributions to the president’s success, and I’ve asked him to slow his departure in order to lend his wise counsel and guidance in the transition period ahead,” Daley said.
David Lane, a longtime Daley confidante, has been named as counselor to the chief of staff.
“My mission is to get the most out of the great talent that President Obama has brought to the White House so that we can all help him effectively serve and lead the American people," Daley said.
The announcements come at the end of a long personnel review by senior adviser Pete Rouse.
“I believe these decisions will bring greater clarity to our structure and roles and will enhance coordination and collaboration among us,” Daley said. “I am excited about these changes and I look forward to working with all of you — those in existing roles as well as those filling new roles — in the weeks and months ahead. We have a great team.”
This story was posted at 4:07 p.m. and updated at 5:31 p.m.