President Bush has confirmed that he is nominating US trade representative Robert Zoellick for the post of deputy secretary of state in the new second-term administration.
If they are both confirmed by the US Senate, Mr Zoellick will work as deputy to new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Some see Miss Rice and Mr Zoellick as similar personalities.
Zoellick and Rice worked for Bush's father, George Bush Snr
Both are staunch conservatives, perfectionists motivated by ideology who push themselves to the limits to achieve ambitious goals.
Perhaps most crucially though, both are very much Bush administration insiders.
They worked closely together under the first President Bush at the National Security Council, and proved their loyalty to the second President Bush while serving at cabinet level in his first administration.
Their areas of expertise are very different.
Miss Rice is a political strategist with a passion for the former Soviet Union.
Mr Zoellick is an enthusiastic advocate of free trade who once described economic openness as America's trump card.
In two decades of free trade negotiations, he has developed a reputation as a tough and energetic champion of open markets.
He is also an internationalist with a broad range of foreign contacts. That may offset Miss Rice's more limited foreign experience.
The new state department team is widely expected to bring an era of greater conservatism in foreign policy.
Much has been made of differences of opinion between the White House and the current Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He is widely seen as more moderate and multi-lateralist and seemed increasingly undermined.
Some see the change as evidence, the White House was determined to rein in the State Department and appoint top officials in line with White House thinking.
Mr Zoellick was seen as a potential future head of the World Bank.
Instead he is taking the unusual step of accepting a demotion, moving from a cabinet level job to a deputy.