Emanuel, a former congressman from Illinois, had been unabashed about his desire to run for mayor of Chicago. So when longtime Mayor Richard Daley announced in September that he would not seek another term, the door opened for Emanuel's return to his hometown.
A recent Chicago Tribune poll shows Emanuel the early front-runner in the race.
"I think he would be an excellent mayor," Obama said of his former chief of staff in an interview late last year.
William Daley, Former Commerce Secretary
Daley, the former Clinton commerce secretary and JP Morgan Chase executive, assumes the reins from interim chief of staff Pete Rouse, who will be promoted to counselor to the president.
"He possesses a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow our economy," Obama said of Daley. "And needless to say, Bill also adds a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government and politics works. You might say it is a genetic trait."
Daley, who has strong ties within the business community, was considered a top choice for working with Republicans and signals the president's willingness to move to the political center.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised Obama's selection of Daley, calling it a "strong appointment."
But some liberal groups suggested bringing in Daley was akin to letting a wolf into the hen house.
Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org, said the move "sends the wrong message to the American people. ... It's up to Daley to prove that he's not carrying water in the White House for the big banks that took our economy over the cliff."
The seventh and youngest child of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, he may be best known for not conceding on election night when he was the campaign chairman for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.
Gibbs announced Wednesday that he will be leaving the White House in February.
"It is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a president that I admire as much as President Barack Obama," Gibbs told reporters at his regular briefing. "What I'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some."
"This is a tough place to work. ... I think having new voices and having fresh voices, some of those voices that are coming back from having taken a couple of years off, are an important part of this process," Gibbs said.
Gibbs said he would continue to support the administration from the private sector, offering advice as a paid consultant to the Obama re-election campaign.
White House officials say the search for Gibbs' replacement is just beginning and will be among the first decisions that will involve incoming chief of staff Bill.
Bill Burton, Deputy Press Secretary
Burton is seen as the favorite to become the new public face of the administration, given the training and experience he gained as Obama's national press secretary during the 2008 presidential campaign. The 33-year-old has also held communications posts on Capitol Hill.
The New York native is well regarded by members of the White House press corps for his engaging and affable manner. But he's also demonstrated, both from the podium and the sidelines, that he can be a forceful defender of his boss and the administration.
Josh Earnest, Deputy Press Secretary