Janet Napolitano will resign as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary on Friday. She's leaving to become the president of the University of California system, the Los Angeles Times' Larry Gordon writes. Napolitano has been Homeland Security secretary since 2009, and was previously the governor of Arizona.

Sherry Lansing, who headed the committee that picked Napolitano, said in a statement, "While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university." Usually, the university system presidency goes to an academic, Gordon explains, but Napolitano was picked for her ties to the federal government. She has a record of running big large public agencies, plus: "UC officials believe that her Cabinet experiences –- which include helping to lead responses to hurricanes and tornadoes and overseeing some anti-terrorism measures -- will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas."

Napolitano said in a statement:

For more than four years I have had the privilege of serving President Obama and his Administration as the Secretary of Homeland Security. The opportunity to work with the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, who serve on the frontlines of our nation’s efforts to protect our communities and families from harm, has been the highlight of my professional career. We have worked together to minimize threats of all kinds to the American public.

The Department has improved the safety of travelers; implemented smart steps that make our immigration system more fair and focused while deploying record resources to protect our nation’s borders; worked with states to build resiliency and make our nation’s emergency and disaster response capabilities more robust; and partnered with the private sector to improve our cybersecurity.

After four plus years of focusing on these challenges, I will be nominated as the next President of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation’s next generation of leaders. I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.