adviser to be replaced when leaves for Obama econ job

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget while next to acting Director of Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jeffrey Zients, charged with fixing the troubled website, will be replaced when he leaves to start his new job as a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, a White House official said on Monday.

Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director, told MSNBC that Zients' departure date as a special adviser for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is as yet unclear.

Zients was chosen by Obama in September to take over from Gene Sperling as director of the White House National Economic Council. That job is supposed to start on January 1.

"Right now Jeff is focused on the website," Palmieri said. "He's going to continue that for the immediate future. He will become the NEC director at some point, I'm not sure exactly the date.

"But the other thing that we want people to understand is that when Jeff does leave, that it was always going to be a short-term assignment for him, that he will be replaced by someone," Palmieri said.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott)