President Obama is planning the first major reorganization of his administration, preparing to shuffle several positions in the West Wing as he tries to fortify his political team for the realities of divided government and his own re-election.
The president is studying how to maximize the power of the executive branch, advisers said, seeking insight from veterans of previous administrations and fresh advice from business leaders to guide the second half of his term.
He is reviewing the restructuring plan during the holidays, aides said, and intends to make the first announcements in the opening days of January.
A reshaping of the economic team, beginning by naming a new director of the National Economic Council, is among the most urgent priorities of the new year. Gene Sperling, a counselor to the Treasury secretary who held the position in the Clinton administration, is among the final contenders to succeed Lawrence H. Summers in the job, along with Roger C. Altman, a Wall Street investment banker who also served in the Clinton administration.
When Republicans assume control of the House on Jan. 5, ending four years of a full Democratic majority in Congress, the president’s approach to policy and politics is poised to change on several fronts.
The White House is hiring more lawyers to handle oversight investigations from the new Congress, even as the president sets up a re-election headquarters in Chicago and considers ways to streamline operations inside the West Wing.