When Bill Daley was relieved of the Chief of Staff part of the Chief of Staff job, I thought he’d just end up as an appendage, a corporate bagman who could help the corporate community get things fixed at the White House, such as the decision to roll back new ozone standards. But over the past several weeks, the White House has stepped away from the corporate-friendly pose they cultivated with the Daley appointment, particularly in this election year. Daley became far less relevant and perhaps isolated. And today, he just went ahead and resigned.

William Daley is stepping down as White House chief of staff and budget director Jack Lew is taking over the President Obama’s team as it heads into a tough election year, senior administration officials say.

Daley gave his letter of resignation to the president in a private meeting in the Oval Office last week, recounting the administration’s successes of his one year on the job and saying it was time for him to return to his hometown of Chicago.

Obama plans to announce the change in leadership in a public event Monday afternoon. The official shift will take place at the end of the month, giving Lew time to complete the administration’s budget proposal while Daley leads the team through the crafting of the State of the Union address due in two weeks.

This leaves a hole in the budget director position, but if Lew stays on to craft the budget proposal, his work will basically be done for the year, and as Chief of Staff he will presumably still have a hand in the inevitable budget-related debates with Congress.

This is described as a surprise, but I cannot see how. Daley was effectively relieved of his duties back in November. The position as it became over the past two months obviously didn’t appeal to him. The question is mainly whether advisor Pete Rouse will continue to run the show or if Lew will actually have some of the job description put back in his lap.

The Daley experiment barely lasted one year. It reflected a low point in the White House, where they chased corporate favor for no discernible benefit. Clearly, heading into the election campaign, they’re on a different path. But it’s not like there’s a net dropoff of former bankers here; while Daley worked as a VP for JPMorgan Chase, Lew was the former COO of Citigroup’s “Alternative Investments” unit.

…incidentally, Daley lands on his feet, he goes to co-chair the Obama re-election campaign. That’s a position Daley did so well for Al Gore.