WASHINGTON — Desiree Rogers, the White House's flamboyant social secretary who came under criticism after two uninvited guests crashed the Obamas' only state dinner, is stepping down, White House officials said Friday.
Julianna Smoot was said to be the top candidate to become the new social secretary. A leading fundraiser during President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Smoot is chief of staff for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Rogers, 50, a longtime friend to the president and first lady, was widely disparaged after a couple from Virginia made their way into a state dinner held in honor of the Indian prime minister on Nov. 24.
Rogers attended the dinner as a guest, breaking with the custom that calls for a social secretary to work the event and ensure that it goes smoothly.
While the Secret Service accepted the lion's share of the blame for the security breach, Rogers became an easy target for critics because of her flair for self-promotion.
Rogers was not asked to leave her job but expressed a desire to go back into the private sector, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.
Rogers, a New Orleans native with a Harvard MBA, was the first African-American to serve as a White House social secretary. She held high-level corporate jobs in Illinois and led its lottery before coming to Washington.