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Obama's National Economic Council Head to Step Down (Updated)

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Lawrence Summers says he plans to leave the Obama administration at the close of 2010

This photo provided by CBS Sunday, April 25, 2010, shows Lawrence Summers, former Director of the National Economic Council as he makes a point on the Sunday talk show "Face The Nation" in Washington, April 25, 2010.

According to internal sources, Bloomberg News is reporting that Lawrence Summers, director of President Obama's National Economic Council, has plans to step down following the November midterm elections:

His departure would leave Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the only member of President Barack Obama’s original top-tier economic team. Summers, 55, and the president have discussed his future plans, according to one person.

Administration officials are weighing whether to put a prominent corporate executive in the NEC director’s job to counter criticism that the administration is anti-business, one person familiar with White House discussions said. White House aides are also eager to name a woman to serve in a high-level position, two people said. They also are concerned about finding someone with Summers’ experience and stature, one person said.

The people familiar with White House discussions spoke on condition of anonymity because no decisions have been made.

Update: Summers will reportedly be leaving his post at the White House "at the end of the year." The White House announced this afternoon that Mr. Summers will return to his post at Harvard. In a statement released this afternoon, President Obama had the following to say about Summers' upcoming exit:

I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry’s brilliance, experience and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team. Over the past two years, he has helped guide us from the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s to renewed growth. And while we have much work ahead to repair the damage done by the recession, we are on a better path thanks in no small measure to Larry’s wise counsel. We will miss him here at the White House, but I look forward to soliciting his continued advice and his counsel on an informal basis, and appreciate that he has agreed to serve as a member of the President’s Economic Advisory Board.

Summers is the third key member of Obama's economic team to announce their departure, including Christina Romer, chair of the president's council of economic advisors, and Peter Orzag, former White House budget director.

In return, Summer had the following statement:

I will miss working with the President and his team on the daily challenges of economic policy making. I’m looking forward to returning to Harvard to teach and write about the economic fundamentals of job creation and stable finance as well as the integration of rising and developing countries into the global system.
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