AP is reporting that President Obama will name Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, his ambassador to China on Saturday.
Huntsman has been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential contender. He served as ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and has an adopted daughter from China.
The appointment of Huntsman would mean that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert would take over as the state's chief executive. A special election for the governor's office would be held in 2010, under a new state constitutional amendment.
Huntsman, a Republican, met late last year with representatives of the Democratic president's administration about a possible appointment.
Contacted Friday evening, Joe Demma, Herbert's chief of staff, said neither he nor the lieutenant governor knew anything about any Huntsman appointment.
"The lieutenant governor doesn't have any idea what's happening," Demma said. "He and the governor just got re-elected. He's looking forward to his second term and supporting Governor Huntsman."