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Summers Stature Will Make Replacing Him a Tough Task

For all of Lawrence Summers’s drawbacks, a strong-willed and intellectual economist who critics say is difficult to work with, President Barack Obama faces a tough task in finding a replacement with the stature of the departing director of the National Economic Council.

Summers will return to Harvard University, where he has served as president and is a professor on a two-year leave, by the end of the year, the White House said yesterday. He will leave the economic team at a time when the nation is still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s, and following elections in which the president’s party faces the possible loss of control of the House and perhaps the Senate.