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Obama Taps Jeffrey Zients to Head National Economic Council

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has tapped his former acting Office of Management and Budget director Jeffrey Zients to be his top economic adviser -- director of the National Economic Council -- when Gene Sperling steps down at the end of the year.

A senior administration official confirmed the choice to ABC News and said the president will issue a statement, making the announcement later on Friday.

The move illustrates Obama's strong preference for hiring from within his trusted circle rather than looking to the outside for an infusion of new ideas. It signals the president's approach to the economy will largely continue unchanged.

Zients, 46, has been part of the Obama administration since 2009.  His previous experience includes corporate management and private equity.

Sperling steps down on Jan. 1.  The position he leaves does not require Senate confirmation.

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