Hillary Clinton has been in discussions with the White House about stepping down from her job as Secretary of State to become head of the World Bank, according to reports.
Mrs Clinton, the former First Lady, Senator for New York and rival to Mr Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary race, is said to be eager to become the first female president of the World Bank should the post become vacant next year.
"Hillary Clinton wants the job," a source close to Mrs Clinton told Reuters, which broke the news of the possible move.
Robert Zoellick, a former Bush administration official, is believed to be ready to step down as president at the end of his term in the middle of next year.
Mrs Clinton has made clear she does not want to remain US Secretary of State, a gruelling job demanding months of world travel each year, beyond Mr Obama's first term.
Another source told Reuters that Mr Obama supported her taking the helm at the World Bank, which is traditionally led by an American.
Once formally nominated for the post by Mr Obama, Mrs Clinton's appointment would require approval by the 187 member countries of the World Bank.
Philippe Reines, a spokesman for Mrs Clinton, issued a strong denial, releasing a statement saying: "Secretary Clinton has not had any conversations with the president, the White House or anyone about moving to the World Bank. She has expressed absolutely no interest in the job. She would not take it if offered."
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, also denied that Mrs Clinton was interested in the role.
Taking over the World Bank could be seen as an end to Mrs Clinton's domestic political ambitions.
If she served out a five-year term, that would take her beyond the 2016 election, when she would be 69.
On the other hand, if she stepped down early from the World Bank she could enter the 2016 race for the White House with historically unparalleled experience in foreign policy, economic policy, on Capitol Hill and as First Lady.
Discussions about the next president of the World Bank would be a natural part of talks about who should replace Dominique Strauss Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. The Frenchman resigned after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.
The head of the IMF has always been a European and the World Bank presidency has always been held by an American, though this is now being challenged by some countries with emerging economies. The Obama administration is expected to back Christine Lagarde, the French Minister, for the IMF.
As Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton has been outspoken on global development issues, particularly the need to improve the economic circumstances of females in developing countries.
The World Bank provides billions of dollars in development funds to the poorest countries and is also at the centre of issues such as climate change, post-conflict reconstruction and transitions to democracy.