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Nick Ayers will take over the reins

He replaces Josh Pitcock

Washington CNN —  

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that he will have a new chief of staff.

Nick Ayers will take over the reins as the new top aide to the vice president, replacing Josh Pitcock, who has been with Pence in the role since the inauguration, Pence’s office said in a statement.

Both men are longtime Pence confidantes, and Ayers is a known Georgia and national political consultant. He also served as campaign chairman for the Pence side of the Trump campaign.

A source close to the vice president said that the change of hands has been in the works for a while, insisting it not a shakeup, and the timing was to coincide with the congressional recess.

Ayers will start in mid-July in a transitioning phase.

The New York Times first reported the move, ahead of the official release.

“I will always be grateful for the foundation Josh laid in the office of the vice president and wish him every success in his future endeavors,” Pence said of his outgoing staffer in the statement. “He will remain one of my most trusted advisors and cherished friends.”

Pence praised Ayers’ “keen intellect and integrity” and welcomed him into the new role.

Ayers had been a part owner of the conservative millennial-focused news website Independent Journal Review, but on Thursday the company’s founder, Alex Skatell, announced that Ayers had “completely divested” himself, according to an employee at the site.

A source at America First Policies said that Ayers would be resigning from the board of the pro-Trump PAC, one of the many political groups that he’s involved in.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.