(CNN) - Press secretary Jay Carney gave his last White House press briefing on Wednesday, telling reporters "it's always been a pleasure."
"...no matter how hard it can get it here; how hot it can sometimes be, and contentious it sometimes is," he said.
Carney, who previously spent 21 years in journalism, including a stint as Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, said while he loved his time as a journalist, it can be at times "an autonomous exercise."
"It's your story, it's your byline. What was so different about this experience for me is that it was all about a team effort and all about a goal that had nothing to do with any individual, not even the president. And that's been extraordinarily gratifying to be a part of," he said.
In announcing his departure, President Barack Obama said last month he considers Carney "one of my closest friends."
"He's got good judgment. He has good temperament and he's got a good heart, and I will miss him a lot," Obama said.
Before taking over the role as lead White House spokesman, Carney was a the director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden.
Carney was Obama's second press secretary, following Robert Gibbs. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take Carney's place at the briefing podium.
Carney has not yet said what the future holds but has said he and wife Claire Shipman, a senior correspondent for ABC News, have had discussions about what's next for him but he hasn't made any firm decisions.
CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.