Washington (CNN)With the end of Barack Obama's presidency looming on the horizon, the question buzzing inside the White House is who will be there to turn off the lights on the last day of his administration.
After staff shake up, who will turn off lights at Obama's White House?
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The departures of senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, an Obama veteran from his first presidential campaign, and Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, are expected as soon as early March, leaving White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough with some big shoes to fill. That's on top of the recent news that Counselor to the President, John Podesta will step aside in mid-February for a senior role in Hillary Clinton's expected race for the White House.
A White House official acknowledged there could be more staff changes in the coming months. But several trusted advisers of the President are expected to remain, giving the West Wing a sense of stability, even as "fresh legs" are coming on board.
McDonough, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Deputy Chief of Staff Anita Decker Breckenridge (another longtime Obama aide), are all expected to remain at the White House until the end of Obama's presidency, an official said with the caveat that no blood oaths have been taken.
Brian Deese, a senior official in the Office of Management and Budget and recently tapped to serve as an adviser to Obama, is set to assume Podesta's duties that will specialize in policy implementation and efforts to combat climate change.
Replacing Pfeiffer is another matter.
"Not sure there will be another Dan Pfeiffer," quipped one official, noting the adviser's unique standing in the White House as a trusted voice in Obama's inner circle. While it is possible a past Obama campaign heavyweight could return to the White House to take on Pfeiffer's role, one official cautioned the position might also be reinvented with an emphasis on tackling the ever greater digital demands of the West Wing.
By contrast, an active search is underway to name a replacement for Palmieri, who is also expected to join Clinton's campaign. Deputy Communications Director Amy Brundage, another longtime Obama aide who also worked in the White House press office, is under consideration. But other candidates will be looked at as well, as expected.
Other moves are already underway. Ron Klain, the president's Ebola Response Coordinator, is slated to leave the White House on Feb. 15. Klain's services are no longer needed as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa appears to be abating.
The White House staff shakeup should not be interpreted as a sign Obama is preparing for a slower pace, one official said. "The president is not trying to trim his sails," the official added.
One question inside the White House is whether the President's deputy national security adviser and '08 campaign veteran Ben Rhodes will stay until the end. But Rhodes, the President's foreign policy speech writer who recently helped broker the deal to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, has told colleagues he has no plans to leave.
A recent infusion of talent from both the public and private sector gives aides inside the West Wing confidence that they will continue to attract top candidates for these latest White House openings.
U.S. Digital Services Administrator Mikey Dickerson, Intergovernmental Affairs Director Jerry Abramson, National Security Council Chief of Staff Suzy George, Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston were all cited as examples of fresh voices joining the administration, as well as expected incoming cabinet members Ash Carter at Defense and Loretta Lynch at Justice.