Daniel Smith appointed acting U.S. secretary of state

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Daniel Smith, director of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), has been appointed acting secretary of state following Joe Biden’s swearing in as President, a White House official said on Wednesday.

Smith is expected to be in the role temporarily until Biden’s nominee for top diplomat, Antony Blinken, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The announcement comes a day after the confirmation hearing of Blinken, 58, a veteran foreign policy hand and close Biden confidant. There has been no indication that Blinken would face difficulty being confirmed.

Smith was appointed director of the FSI, which trains American diplomats, in 2018 and holds the State Department’s highest diplomatic rank of Career Ambassador.

Blinken previously served as No. 2 at the State Department and as deputy national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Daphne Psaledakis; editing by John Stonestreet