By Staff Writer, CNN • Updated 26th September 2011
For the first time since 1946, the White House butler has been replaced.
President and Mrs. Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that Robert B. Downing, formerly the butler at The Bush White House, will be taking over the position vacated by Bill Harlow.
“Bill has been an outstanding White House usher,” the first couple said in a statement. “From managing the daily events of this extraordinary administration to building strong relationships with the global community, he has left an impressive legacy. On behalf of the First Family, we want to thank Bill for his hard work and dedication.”
The White House usher is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the White House, from coordination of which tours are available to how staff are greeted each day in the Executive Mansion.
Downing began his career at The Bush White House as a volunteer usher in 1987. He has served in the position full-time since 2003.
Born in central Indiana, Downing moved to Washington with his family at age 16. He received a bachelor’s degree in History from Vanderbilt University in 1990 and a master’s degree in Catholic Social Thought and Public Policy from St. John’s University in 1993.