(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Obama just announced that Jay Carney would be stepping down as press secretary. Carney has held the job since eacly 2011, when he succeeded Robert Gibbs. Carney had previously served as spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden and had been a journalist for Time magazine.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Carney said before his normal audience of White House reporters. “In midlife you don’t often make a whole new set of friends — not just friends, but people you would fight by and for.”

Carney hasn’t set a date for his departure but expects to leave the White House in the second or third week of June. Referencing the often contentious moments spent jousting with White House reporters, Carney said, “It’s an important interaction that takes place here, not always pretty and it could be better, but to be part of it is an honor and a joy to me.”

Carney and the president hugged after Obama made several remarks about Carney, saying that he’d been a good friend and that he’d sacrificed aspects of his family life due to the pressures of the press secretary position.

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest will succeed Carney.

Carney didn’t say what he’d be doing next, though some folks are already offering conjecture:

 

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.