Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is preparing to step down from his post at the end of March, the White House confirmed to Yahoo News Wednesday morning following media reports.
Salazar, a former Colorado senator, was among the Cabinet members expected to resign in the president's second term, but the timing had not been revealed. A public announcement may be made as soon as Wednesday.
The resignation of Salazar, who is Latino, comes as the White House faces criticism for President Barack Obama's four consecutive appointments of white men to top posts: John Kerry for secretary of state, Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, John Brennan for CIA director and Jack Lew for treasury secretary. Those picks, combined with a recent New York Times story highlighting the president's "all-male" inner circle and other reports suggesting a lack of diversity, have driven criticism, which the White House has flatly rejected.
"Until you’ve seen what my overall team looks like, it’s premature to assume that somehow we’re going backwards," the president said at a press conference Monday. "We’re not going backwards."