"I don't know that we're hugely deep into the process, but we're certainly not at the beginning of it," Gibbs said Wednesday aboard Air Force One, telling reporters that Summers' decision to return to his post at Harvard University was something he and President Obama discussed last fall.
Gibbs said the administration is "enormously grateful" for Summers' work and that he, along with two other recently departed members of the president's economic team, Peter Orszag and Christina Romer, "probably fit four or five years worth of work into two years."
He said the White House is looking at a "broad group of people representing a whole host of backgrounds" to find the next person to lead the National Economic Council.
Gibbs stressed the demands of the "all-consuming job," noting that "for a number of people this has been two years of 15- or 16-hour days, seven days a week." He emphasized that Summers' departure is not imminent, telling reporters, "We have three months to play the name game."