Exclusive: White House budget official Zients frontrunner for trade chief

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 6, 2013 6:47pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House deputy budget director Jeffrey Zients is President Barack Obama's frontrunner to take over as U.S. Trade Representative, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Zients has served as acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and is well liked within the administration.

Though Zients was considered a candidate to become director of OMB, sources said Obama had chosen Walmart Foundation head Sylvia Matthews Burwell for that job. An announcement of her selection was expected soon.

Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker was being considered for secretary of commerce, two sources said. Pritzker is a friend of Obama's and was a top fundraiser for his campaign.

(Editing by Paul Simao)

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