The Minnesota native has gone from helping set up the office for Sen.-elect Barack Obama in 2004 to deputy national security adviser for President Obama — and now White House chief of staff.
"I have been counting on Denis for nearly a decade," Obama said Friday in making the announcement.
"He's been one of my closest and most trusted advisers," he added. "On my presidential campaign, on my transition team. He has been an indispensable member of my national security team as well."
McDonough, 43, also has many fans in the White House, and not just Obama. Staffers at an East Room event greeted the announcement of his new job with loud applause and war whoops. Obama said one of the reasons "we all love Denis so much" is "his decency, his respect for those around him."