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Obama reshuffles economic team

In a reshuffling of some of President Obama's top economic advisers, the director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, plans to leave the administration on Jan.1, the White House announced Friday.

Mr. Obama named Jeffrey Zients, formerly the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, as Sperling's replacement.

In a statement, the president praised Sperling's contribution to his administration. "Gene's relentless work ethic, sharp intellect and ability to work across the aisle have been instrumental in our efforts to build a better bargain for the middle class and reduce the deficit while also protecting the most vulnerable," he said. "I want to thank Gene and his family for their service and I look forward to having his counsel for the rest of the year."

Before heading the president's economic brain trust, Sperling was a top adviser to former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. In that stead, Sperling "helped us avoid a second Great Depression and led efforts to pass a Small Business Jobs Act to help entrepreneurs grow," Mr. Obama said.

In his statement, the president also praised Zients' stewardship of the OMB. "Jeff has a sterling reputation as a business leader, and he earned the admiration and respect of everyone he worked with during his four years in leadership positions at the Office of Management and Budget," he said. "I am certain that in Jeff's hands we will continue to have strong leadership of our economic policy team and his advice will be critical as we keep moving this country forward and building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead."

Prior to joining the administration, Zients had "twenty years of business experience as a CEO, management consultant, and entrepreneur," Mr. Obama noted.