( Reuters ) - Top White House economic adviser Allan Hubbard resigned on Wednesday and will be replaced by his deputy, Keith Hennessey, the latest in a string of departures as President George W. Bush's term winds down.
His departure comes at a difficult time for the Bush administration, which is facing a crisis in the mortgage industry that has led to an increase in housing foreclosures as well as jittery global stock and currency markets.
Hubbard, 60, will leave as director of the National Economic Council by the end of the year and his announcement comes a day after he said the risks of the U.S. economy slipping into a recession were growing.
"Al Hubbard has led the economic policymaking process in my administration for some of the most challenging economic issues confronting our nation," Bush said in a statement.
Hubbard said in his resignation letter that he was leaving to spend more time with his children. Other top White House officials who have left this year include political adviser Karl Rove, communications director Dan Bartlett and budget director Rob Portman.
Hubbard's replacement, Hennessey, has served as deputy director for the National Economic Council for five years and previously worked for Republican Sen. Trent Lott and at the Senate Budget Committee.
"He comes to this job with a great wealth of experience and is as prepared for the challenges of this job as anyone could possibly be having been the deputy for so many years," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
The collapse of the U.S. market for subprime mortgages has touched off a global financial credit crunch and unnerved investors who fear that a recession is looming.
"Obviously the chances of a recession are higher now than they were a year ago, but we still think it's less than 50-50," Hubbard said on CNBC television on Tuesday.
"We obviously have problems in the housing sector and we have problems in the financial sector, but ... real America is doing just fine," he said.
The United States last suffered a recession between March and November 2001, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a 10-year gap from the previous episode.