Meet Nick Ayers, the leading candidate to take over for John Kelly as White House chief of staff

President Donald Trump announced that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is on his way out of the administration, saying Kelly will be leaving “at the end of the year” and he will announce his replacement in the next day or two.

Though Kelly said in July he would stick with Trump until 2020, months of tense clashes have stirred rumours the retired Marine would soon be replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

Ayers has been the long-suspected replacement for retired Marine Gen. Kelly, with reports saying he’s been Trump’s top choice to assume the spot since 2017.

Here’s some background on the man who could become the Trump administration’s third chief of staff.

Nick Ayers, 36, is reportedly the top candidate to be the next White House chief of staff. He would be one of the youngest people to hold this position in decades.

Ayers currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In a White House consumed by chaos, Ayers would have his work cut out for him. Chief of staff is arguably the toughest job in Trump’s administration.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesNEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 8: (L to R) Republican political strategists Nick Ayers and Kellyanne Conway arrives at Trump Tower, December 8, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

Ayers, a Georgia native, got an early start in politics working on Sonny Perdue’s gubernatorial campaign while in college. Perdue now works in Trump’s administration as Secretary of Agriculture.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Source: The New Republic

At 19, Ayers quit college to work full-time for Perdue. By the age of 22, Ayers was named manager of Perdue’s reelection campaign, ultimately leading him to victory.

Source: The New Republic

Ayers eventually obtained a BA in political science from Kennesaw State University.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ayers continued to make a name for himself in Republican circles working for various conservative groups and candidates throughout his 20s. At one point, he helped former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus become Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

By 2016, Ayers was working as a strategist for Mike Pence, and ultimately became a key member of his vice presidential campaign team.

In June 2017, Ayers was tapped as Pence’s chief of staff.

Al Drago/Getty Images

Ayers is extremely religious, which is part of why he and Pence connected.

Sara D. Davis/Getty ImagesVice President Mike Pence.

Source: The Huffington Post

Ayers is reportedly worth between $US12 million and $US55 million, so he would not be out of place in an administration full of millionaires and billionaires in top positions.

Source: Politico

Ayers obtained much of his wealth via consulting work, but also through various investments in real estate, health care, and technology, among other industries.

Source: Politico

Ayers reportedly has a strong relationship with the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

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