Phil Mattingly
Bloomberg News

Jay Carney, President Barack Obama’s spokesman and the face of the his communications operation, is leaving the White House.

Obama came to the briefing room today to announce Carney’s departure as press secretary, sometime in the middle of June. Josh Earnest, the principal deputy press secretary, has been promoted to replace Carney, Obama said.

“Jay has become one of my closest friends,” Obama, who surprised reporters with his appearance and announcement, said. “I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Carney, 49, the former Washington bureau chief for Time Magazine, first joined the Obama administration as the communications director for Vice President Joe Biden. In 2011, Carney was selected to replace Robert Gibbs in the job that places him at the front of the press on a near daily basis at White House briefings.