The decision by Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations to avoid a confirmation battle with Senate Republicans could prompt the White House to take a second look at officials such as former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, who has been mentioned as a candidate to be the first female secretary of Defense.

The president could also consider promoting Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle to chief of staff. While not a cabinet position, chief of staff is seen as the second most powerful position in the administration after the presidency itself.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday that despite losing Rice as a potential secretary of State, diversity is a priority for the president in selecting his cabinet.