Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
FILE - Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks at the Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City to rally support for Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Hatch's chief of staff for the past three years will be in the thick of the new presidential administration.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch's chief of staff for the past three years will be in the thick of the new presidential administration.

President-elected Donald Trump named Rob Porter as an assistant to the president and White House staff secretary.

The staff secretary is charged with deciding what papers reach the president’s desk, choosing which staff members are involved in key meetings and ensuring that major administration decisions are fully vetted.

Hatch, R-Utah, called Porter an "inspired" choice.

"Rob is not only a brilliant leader, he is also a dear friend and a trusted confidante who has my full confidence and support," the senator said in a statement. "While his selection is a loss for me personally, it is an enormous gain for the incoming president and the nation to have such a capable, devoted public servant in such a senior role."

Porter joined Hatch’s office in March 2014 as deputy chief of staff and was promoted to chief of staff in June of that year. He oversaw legislative, communications, administrative and state-level work.

Porter has undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard. He also holds an master's in philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Porter previously worked for two other senators, clerked for federal appellate judge and was an associate in the Sidley Austin law firm.

With Porter’s departure, Hatch named senior counsel Matthew Sandgren as chief of staff. Hatch also promoted John Tanner to legislative director.