Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in discussions with the White House about leaving her job next year to become head of the World Bank, sources familiar with the discussions said Thursday.
She has said publicly she did not plan to stay on at the State Department for more than four years. Associates say Clinton has expressed interest in having the World Bank job should the bank's current president, Robert Zoellick, leave at the end of his term, in the middle of 2012.
Although three people said she wanted the job, Philippe Reines, a spokesman for Clinton, said she did not and has not spoken with the White House about it.
One source said Obama has already expressed support for the change in her role. It is unclear whether Obama has formally agreed to nominate her for the post, which would require approval by the 187 member countries of the World Bank.
The White House declined to comment.
Revelations of these discussions could hurt Clinton's efforts as America's top diplomat if she is seen as a lame duck in the job.
The head of the IMF has always been a European and the World Bank presidency has always been held by an American.