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Obama's Top Econ. Adviser Is Leaving the Administration (And Guess Who's Replacing Him)

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- President Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser Gene Sperling will leave in January and will be replaced by Jeffrey Zients, a two time White House acting budget director, the White House said Friday.

Gene Sperling, left, will be exiting in January (Getty Images)

Zients next year will replace Sperling as director of Obama's National Economic Council.

Sperling has held the post for roughly three years and was present for the fights over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the debt ceiling, and “sequester.”

Zients joined the White House in 2009 as chief performance officer, heading an effort to “streamline government and cut costs,” as the Associated Press puts it.

President Obama then tapped him to serve as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

But here's something really interesting: Zients used to work for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney' Bain & Company investment firm.

"Zients worked at Bain & Co. from 1988 to 1990. During this period, Romney was running Bain Capital, so the two did not work together," The Daily Caller notes.

"Zients made his $100 million-plus fortune in the early 2000s overseeing a company that advises companies on government regulations and business strategy," the report adds.

Simply put, the White House's new chief economic adviser at one time worked for an investment firm connected to a man Team Obama energetically accused of engaging in unethical and shady business practices.

The New York Times reported the change Friday before the White House had a chance to make the big announcement.

Sperling served in the same top economic post under President Bill Clinton. He's said to be leaving for personal reasons. His wife, a writer and producer, works in Los Angeles and Sperling has been commuting between Washington and California.

How about them apples? (Getty Images)

The White House official spoke on the condition of anonymity to confirm the change before the announcement.

Zients joined the White House after 20 years of business experience as a chief executive, management consultant, and entrepreneur. He was a founder and managing partner of the investment firm Portfolio Logic.

The National Economic Council post does not require Senate confirmation. Obama's first director of the council was Larry Summers, a Harvard economist and now a leading contender to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

In staying until Jan. 1, Sperling is assured of being one of Obama's chief economic advisers, along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, during upcoming budget negotiations with Congress, including efforts to avoid a government shutdown Oct. 1 and to raise the nation's debt limit.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.

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