Barack Obama
Barack Obama Reuters

President Barack Obama is expected to name Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough as the next White House chief of staff, sources confirmed to CNN.

McDonough would replace Jack Lew, who has been nominated for secretary of the Treasury Department.

CNN reported earlier that McDonough was a lead candidate for the position, along with Ron Klain, who once served as Vice President Joe Biden's chief of staff.

McDonough would be Obama's fourth official chief of staff since he took office in January 2009. Rahm Emanuel, who went on to become Chicago mayor, was the first to hold the position, followed by Bill Daley, then Jack Lew. Pete Rouse, a former senior adviser and now counselor to the president, served as interim chief of staff for three months between Emanuel and Daley.

The White House announced McDonough as deputy national security adviser in October 2010.

"For years, I have counted on Denis McDonough's expertise and counsel on national security issues," the president said in a statement at the time. "He possesses a remarkable intellect, irrepressible work ethic, and a sense of collegiality that has earned him the respect of his colleagues."

Prior to his appointment, McDonough had served on the national security staff, was a senior foreign policy adviser for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and has worked as a foreign policy adviser for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.

His Capitol Hill ties are believed to be an asset to the administration ahead of the president’s push on the national budget, immigration reform and gun-control measures.

McDonough, a Minnesota native, graduated from St. John's University in Collegeville and received a master's degree from Georgetown University.

The decision comes as Obama faces criticism for a lack of diversity among his top-level Cabinet picks for his second term, as his nominees for secretary of state, secretary of defense, treasury secretary and CIA director have all been male.

Addressing the criticism during a news conference Monday, Obama told reporters they should refrain from making judgments before he has filled all of the vacant posts.

"I would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they've seen all my appointments, who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet, before they rush to judgment," Obama said.

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