After two years as President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs plans to leave the White House this month to become an independent advisor to the president and his re-election campaign. Gibbs will also give paid speeches, but has said that he does not plan to launch a consulting business. His replacement is Jay Carney, who was previously communications director for Vice President Joe Biden.

Gibbs, who started working for Obama during his 2004 Senate campaign, announced his departure plans on January 5. He served as Obama’s communications director during his time in the Senate and during his 2008 presidential campaign, on which he was instrumental in overseeing rapid response.
Unlike many White House press secretaries, Gibbs has been a key advisor to Obama. “For the last six years, Robert has been a close friend, one of my closest advisers, and an effective advocate from the podium for what this administration has been doing to move America forward,” Obama said in a statement after Gibbs announced his plans.
Anita Dunn, former communications director under Obama, told the Associated Press that in losing Gibbs, the White House is losing “institutional memory, a keen strategist, a witty if occasionally acerbic spokesperson, and a passionate defender of the president’s values.” Still, she added, “He’s not going far.”