Vice President Pence speaks during an event Wednesday in Billings, Mont. (Casey Page/Billings Gazette/AP)

Jarrod Agen, Vice President Pence’s communications director and a frequent presence at his side, is leaving the White House at the end of the month. He will become a vice president for communications at Lockheed Martin, one of the nation’s leading defense contractors.

Agen has worked in Pence’s office since the beginning of the administration and after 2½ years in the White House, said he was ready for a change, according to friends and associates.

The vice president’s operation has undergone changes in recent months, beginning with the news in December that Nick Ayers, Pence’s second chief of staff, planned to leave the administration at the end of the year. 

Ayers was replaced in February by Marc Short, a longtime Pence loyalist who had worked in the Trump administration as director of legislative affairs. 

For a brief period after Ayers departed the White House, Agen served as acting chief of staff and had hoped to officially assume the position, but the vice president ultimately opted for Short, who had been working in the private sector since leaving the White House in July 2018, associates said.

Agen maintained a good relationship with both the vice president and Short but began considering other opportunities, the associates said.

In addition to Agen’s departure, Rebeccah Propp, who served as Pence’s director of media affairs, announced earlier this month that she was also leaving, to become communications director for Juul Labs, based out of the e-cigarette company’s San Francisco headquarters.

“Jarrod Agen served the Office of the Vice President with distinction as my communications director, deputy chief of staff, and acting chief of staff for the last two and a half years and he leaves with my utmost respect,” Pence said in a statement. “From traveling abroad for major international trips, to weekly travel across the country, Jarrod was a leader and deeply valued member of my team. I will always be grateful for his service, hard work, integrity, and friendship and he will be missed.”

The statement added that the vice president and his wife, Karen, wish Agen, his wife, Bettina Inclán, and their two young boys “every blessing.”

White House aides said Agen fit well in Pence’s orbit because — like the vice president — he blended anti-establishment bona fides with experience in establishment conservative circles. He had served as chief of staff to then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, worked in the George W. Bush administration and also worked for tea party favorite Sharron Angle’s Senate campaign in Nevada. In 2007 and 2008, he worked for Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign. Giuliani is now Trump’s personal attorney.

Along with Propp, Agen played a key role in planning many of Pence’s trips, including those overseas. 

In an email to reporters announcing his departure, Agen thanked the media for its “professionalism and the great working relationship we’ve had during my time in the White House.”

“Some of my best experiences in the Vice President’s office were the many trips” during which reporters traveled with administration officials, he wrote.

Agen plans to stay in the Washington area and joked that he should have more time on his hands, adding that “my son Santino just turned 4 last week and my other son Dario turns 2 next month . . . so, I’m excited to hang out with them this summer.”

Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for the vice president, has assumed Agen’s duties as communications director.