J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president who has been serving as a top economic aide to President Obama during turbulent economic times, plans to return to Harvard as a professor at the end of the year, the White House announced today.
Summers has been serving as director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic poilcy.
"I will miss working with the President and his team on the daily challenges of economic policy making. I'm looking forward to returning to Harvard to teach and write about the economic fundamentals of job creation and stable finance as well as the integration of rising and developing countries into the global system," Summers said in a statement.
Summers is the third top economic official in the administration to leave. Christina Romer, who was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, left earlier this month to return to academia. Peter Orszag left his post as budget director this summer.
The move comes as the administration struggles to show an anxious public it's making progress on economy.
In a statement, the president said he is grateful for Summers' service during a time of "great peril for our country."
"While we have much work ahead to repair the damage done by the recession, we are on a better path thanks in no small measure to Larry's wise counsel," Obama said.
Summers will return to Harvard University, a move a senior administration official said was always part of Summers' long-standing plans. The official said the president asked Summers last fall to stay through 2010 in order to see through the passage of financial regulatory legislation and the continued implementation of the economic stimulus package. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal White House matters.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would be the only one of Obama's top-tier economic advisers to remain with the administration should be stay through the end of the year.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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