February 2, 2013 / 12:08 AM / 5 years ago

Factbox: Obama's second-term Cabinet takes shape

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has begun to reshape his Cabinet at the start of his second term, elevating several longtime advisers to key positions.

More changes are still to come, as officials step down after long tenures through stressful periods at top jobs.

Obama has faced criticism for his choices, in part because of past policy decisions and statements some of them have made, but also because he has so far named four white men to a Cabinet once lauded for its diversity.

Following is a list of some Cabinet members who the White House has confirmed are staying on, and some positions that are vacant or may soon become vacant.


State - John Kerry, the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was confirmed by the Senate to replace Hillary Clinton.

Treasury - Jack Lew, Obama’s chief of staff and a two-time White House budget director, would take the top economic job at a time when the White House faces another round of tough negotiations on deficit issues with Congress. He would replace Timothy Geithner.

Defense - Chuck Hagel is a former Republican U.S. senator and a decorated war veteran who fought in Vietnam. Hagel faces a tough confirmation battle because of past controversial comments about Israel and gays. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is retiring.

CIA director - John Brennan was Obama’s counterterrorism adviser and has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as officer, analyst and administrator. He would replace David Petraeus, who resigned in November over an extramarital affair.

Chief of Staff - Obama tapped longtime foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough for the job.


Justice - Attorney General Eric Holder, who is part of an Obama task force looking at how to reduce gun violence, will stay on. There had been widespread speculation he would not serve more than four years, a rare long term for an attorney general.

Homeland Security - Secretary Janet Napolitano had been expected to take over the Justice file if Holder left. Now that the White House has said Holder will stay, Napolitano is expected to remain in her current job.

Agriculture - Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has spearheaded talks with Congress about cuts to farm subsidies, will stay on for Obama’s second term.

Health and Human Services - Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will remain in her job.

Veterans Affairs - Secretary Eric Shinseki, a former U.S. Army chief of staff, will stay on.

Education - Secretary Arne Duncan will stay in his job.


Secretary John Bryson resigned in June for health reasons. Rebecca Blank, an economist, has been acting secretary since then.

Possible replacements:

- U.S. Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg

- Elizabeth Littlefield, president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

- Xerox Chief Executive Ursula Burns

- Steve Case - co-founder of America Online

- Daniel Doctoroff - chief executive of the financial news service Bloomberg, and a former deputy mayor of New York City

- Jeff Zients - acting director of Obama’s budget office and a former management consultant


Secretary Hilda Solis, the first Latina to head a major U.S. federal agency, announced plans to resign.

Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, a Hispanic former president of Colorado State University-Pueblo who would bring racial diversity and a Western flair to Obama’s team, is a leading candidate for the job.

Other potential candidates:

- Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, and former New York State Commissioner of Labor

- Betty Sutton, an Ohio congresswoman who was unseated in the November elections


Lisa Jackson, a chemical engineer and the first black administrator of the agency, plans to leave. Jackson battled Republican lawmakers and industry groups who accused the agency of overreaching as it cracked down on carbon emissions and mercury pollution.

Gina McCarthy, currently the assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, is a leading candidate. She is well-known on Capitol Hill, and once worked for Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, when he was Massachusetts governor.

The announcement could still be a couple weeks away. Bob Perciasepe, Jackson’s deputy and the EPA’s acting administrator, is still in the mix, a source said.


Secretary Ray LaHood plans to resign. The Republican and former Illinois congressman brought a bipartisan element to the Democratic president’s team.

Possible replacements:

- Christine Gregoire - a former Washington state governor, Gregoire has been mentioned as a potential candidate for several positions in Obama’s Cabinet.

- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Hispanic American who is a rising star in the Democratic Party.

- Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

- Former Federal Aviation Administration head Jane Garvey

- National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Debbie Hersman


Steven Chu said he will leave the department, likely sometime in March. His successor will play a role advancing Obama’s push to curb climate change.


U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who helped lead the government’s response to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, said he will leave by the end of March.


The top job at the OMB has been vacant for a year since Jack Lew moved into the chief of staff role.


- Sylvia Matthews Burwell - runs the Wal-Mart Foundation and is considered a top contender for the job. Burwell worked in the Clinton administration.

- Jeff Zients - deputy budget director since 2009, could officially take the top job

- Douglas Elmendorf - director of the Congressional Budget Office who has worked at the Federal Reserve, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Treasury Department


USTR Ronald Kirk, who helped restart talks on a regional free-trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, said he plans to leave this month.

Possible replacements:

- U.S. Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg

- Commerce Under Secretary for International Affairs Francisco Sanchez

- Demetrios Marantis - a deputy U.S. trade representative and former chief international trade counsel for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus

- Michael Punke - U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization, who also previously worked for Baucus before joining the Clinton White House as director for international economic affairs

- Lael Brainard - Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, who has been heavily involved in trade and currency talks with China as well as broader global economic discussions

- Michael Froman - now chief White House international economic affairs adviser, who attended Harvard Law School with Obama - although a source familiar with his thinking said he was more likely to remain in his current role.

Reporting By Jeff Mason, Mark Felsenthal, Roberta Rampton, Doug Palmer, Margaret Chadbourn, Deborah Charles, David Ingram, Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy Gardner. Editing by Christopher Wilson and Philip Barbara

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