Obama small business advisor leaves

US President Barack Obama on Monday said Karen Mills, his cabinet-level chief of the Small Business Administration, was leaving his government, and praised her role in helping revive the US economy.

"I knew she had the skills and experience to help America's small businesses recover from the worst economic crisis in generations -- and that's exactly what she's done," Obama said in a statement.

"Over the last four years, Karen has made it easier for small businesses to interact with the federal government by reducing paperwork and cutting through red tape.

"She has played a leading role in my administration's efforts to support start-ups and entrepreneurs."

Mills, who prior to entering government had a private sector career, becomes the latest member of Obama's administration to depart at the natural dividing point of the start of the president's second term.

She was elevated to cabinet rank a year ago, as the administration tried to improve its relationship with the business sector, and pending a major reorganization of the government agencies including the Commerce Department.

The SBA administrator heads an agency of 3,000 employees and is responsible for a portfolio of $90 billion in loan guarantees.