White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday he will quit his job to become an outside political advisor, marking the start of an Obama administration shake up as the president redefines his team.
Gibbs, 39, said his resignation is part of a "major retooling" of key White House leadership. More changes are expected in coming days.
Gibbs, who has served as press secretary for two years, said he would be leaving the White House by early February.
"What I'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some," he said.
A replacement has not been announced, but top contenders are two of his deputies, Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, and Jay Carney, who is communications director to Vice President Joe Biden.
Gibbs said he hopes the job change will allow him to spend more time with his family, and also possibly make speeches.
Gibbs added that by leaving, aides such as himself and senior adviser David Axelrod will have "a chance to talk to the president and people here with a slightly different perspective of not driving in here each morning."
"A lot of personnel decisions will get wrapped up in the next few days because the president and the team understand how much work there is to be done this year," he said.
Axelrod is expected leave after this year's State of the Union address.