By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to name deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough his next chief of staff, replacing Jack Lew after his nomination to be treasury secretary, according to sources familiar with the matter.
McDonough, a longtime Obama foreign policy adviser who worked on the Democrat's 2008 presidential campaign, would bring a strong working relationship and long history with the president to the job.
Two associates of McDonough said they would be surprised if he did not land the position, though administration officials have indicated it is not a done deal.
An announcement is expected soon.
A foreign policy specialist who has traveled abroad on his own to represent Obama, McDonough would lead a broad domestic portfolio as chief of staff. Obama has identified deficit reduction, immigration reform and gun control as his top policy priorities for the first year of his second term.
Rob Nabors, the White House director of legislative affairs who was a critical player in the "fiscal cliff" talks with congressional leaders, is expected to be promoted to deputy chief of staff, according to one source with close ties to the White House.
Nabors would replace outgoing deputy chief of staff Nancy-Anne DeParle, whose last day at the White House is Friday.
McDonough is known for working notoriously long hours. If chosen, his selection would be in line with an Obama trend of keeping close confidants within his inner circle.
McDonough has been on the White House National Security Council since Obama became president, with stints as NSC chief of staff and communications chief before assuming his current role of assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser.
McDonough was a foreign policy adviser to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and a former senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive-leaning advocacy group.
He would become Obama's fourth chief of staff.
Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor Chicago, led Obama's White House during the first half of his first term during fights over the economic stimulus package and healthcare reform.
Bill Daley, a former Commerce secretary for President Bill Clinton, served as Obama's second chief of staff, after an interim period filled by close aide Pete Rouse. Daley was not a part of Obama's campaign-connected inner circle, however, and left after a year in the job.
Lew took over from Daley, who returned to Illinois. A popular and low-key chief, Lew served as a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and as a budget director for Obama before taking his position in the West Wing.