Earnest, a Kansas City native, has served in the White House communications shop since the inauguration in 2009. He previously held communications roles during Obama's presidential campaign, heading the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Iowa communications office.
Jay Carney, Communications Director for Vice President Biden
Carney, a Virginia native, has been a journalist, and before he joined the administration, he had been the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine.
Karen Finney, Former DNC Spokeswoman
Finney most recently served for four years as communications director for the Democratic National Committee. But she also has experience inside the White House, having served as deputy press secretary for then-first lady Hillary Clinton and later as deputy director of presidential scheduling for President Clinton.
Axelrod, one of the president's closest aides, has said he would move back to Chicago in 2011 to help coordinate Obama's re-election campaign. He has made no secret of his desire to be closer to his family in Chicago, where he travels often. It's unclear whether Axelrod will continue in a formal support role for the administration after the 2012 campaign.
Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager during the 2008 election, assumed his new job as senior White House adviser Monday.
"Plouffe is one of the smartest guys in the business. He has the full trust of the president and his team, and we appreciate any and all help he can give us," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said of Plouffe last year.
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Jon Garcia contributed to this report.