Melody Barnes, President Obama's domestic policy adviser, announced Thursday that she will step down at the end of the year in order to spend more time with her family and to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
News of Barnes' departure was first reported by Politico, which noted that her resignation caught many of her colleagues by surprise.
Barnes was also the top domestic policy adviser for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and during her time in the White House handled a number of hot-button issues, including health care and immigration.
In a statement released after her resignation, the president praised Barnes. "Melody has left a lasting legacy, developing and implementing policies that have helped remake our education system, spurred innovation, and fostered opportunity and equality for millions of Americans,” Obama said.
As the Washington Post points out, Barnes is one of only a handful of high-profile women currently in the Obama administration, and her decision follows last month's departure of another, Jen Psaki, who served as the White House's deputy communications director.
Based on her statement, Barnes does not appear to be leaving on bad terms with her former boss. She pledged to "continue to work on the policy issues about which I care so deeply" and to do everything she can to "ensure President Obama is re-elected."