Updated 12:53 p.m. | The long-rumored departure of David Krone as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's chief of staff is official.
"David is like family," Reid said in a statement. "We have been through so much together and through it all I relied on his wise counsel and strategic insight. He inspired tremendous loyalty in our staff who felt, as I do, that whatever challenges arose, David always had your back."
The Nevada Democrat has had Krone by his side as chief of staff since January 2011. He was deputy chief of staff before that.
Krone is a former telecommunications executive who gained notoriety through what became public disagreements with the White House. For instance, The New York Times reported on an incident where President Barack Obama was said to have told Reid to keep Krone away from sensitive negotiations, accusing the aide leaks to the news media.
The outgoing aide will be replaced by former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Drew Willison. Willison has been the likely successor to Krone since at least January, and he has been seen around the Capitol regularly since leaving the SAA job.
Willison was in Reid's orbit long before his 2007 appointment to be the deputy sergeant-at-arms and eventually sergeant-at-arms upon the retirement of Terrance W. Gainer. He previously worked as a Reid aide on energy and environment policy, including a tenure as clerk of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Reid's longtime home before becoming leader.
That meant Willison played a significant role in guiding Reid's efforts to block the development of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, along with the host of other energy policy issues that affect the Silver State.
"Drew has a proven ability to steer large organizations and has built broad relationships on both sides of the aisle that will prove invaluable to me and Senate Democrats in general," Reid said. "Drew knows Nevada and knows the Senate and I will rely on his extensive experience and strategic vision in the months to come."
With Republicans taking control of the Senate, Willison was replaced as SAA.
In a memo, Krone had talked about the possibility of spearheading a 2016 re-election campaign for Reid, but the minority leader recently announced that he would be retiring at the end of his current term.
Related: Harry Reid Still 'Sightless' in Right Eye Schumer to Succeed Reid as Leader Harry Reid Bio: The CQ Profile Reid, GOP Senators Join Forces to Approve Highway The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.