U.S. President Barack Obama intends to nominate lawyer David Jacobson, a key fundraiser during his presidential campaign, as the new ambassador to Canada, the White House announced Thursday.

The White House said Jacobson, 57, who served as deputy national finance chairman for the Obama campaign, is currently serving as special assistant to the president, helping fill vacant administration jobs.

Jacobson, who is considered a close adviser to Obama, lobbied for the Canadian job, a source close to the Obama administration told The Canadian Press.

Jacobson spent 30 years as a partner in the Chicago law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP. He was also a member of an advocacy group called CEO's for Cities, which includes mayors, corporate executives, university presidents and non-profit leaders working to advance the economic competitiveness of American cities.

While his appointment has to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, there's no indication it will be held up.

Lawrence Cannon, Canada's foreign affairs minister, said he welcomed working with Jacobson once his appointment has been confirmed.

"The United States is our first trading partner, closest friend and ally. I look forward to continue working on this important and productive relationship, particularly on mutual interests and commitments to ease the world financial crisis."

Jacobson replaces David Wilkins.

Obama has also picked nominees for Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Guinea, Bahamas, Haiti and Lithuania.

"I am grateful that these individuals will help represent our nation abroad during this important time for our country and the world," Obama said in a statement.

"They bring a depth of experience and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

Maryscott Greenwood, the executive director of the Washington-based Canadian-American Business Council, called the pick an "inspired choice."

"Having someone who's as powerful and capable with such close ties to the president is a huge plus not just for Canada but for the entire Canada-U.S. relationship," she said.

With files from The Canadian Press