Stephen Harper’s director of communications, Jason MacDonald, will leave his role in the Prime Minister’s Office.

MacDonald is taking a job with a lobbying firm in Ottawa, CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reported Friday.

MacDonald has two young daughters, and his new position will allow him to spend more time with his young family, Fife said.

MacDonald became Harper’s chief spokesperson in 2013. He is the eighth communications director to leave the PMO in Harper’s nine years as prime minister.

Rob Nicol, until recently the vice president for corporate affairs at Canadian Tire, will take MacDonald’s place. Nicol has previous political experience, having worked for Mike Harris when he was premier of Ontario.

Nicol is a “soft-spoken, pretty good guy, and the prime minister could use a good, competent communications director because we are seven months from an election campaign,” Fife told CTV’s Power Play.

A good communications director will understand that no matter what story a reporter is working on, it is important to get the government’s side on the public record, Fife said. This would be a key point for Nicol to remember as the fall election approaches.

“It’s going to be a very, very competitive race,” Fife said. “The Liberals have some smart cookies in their communications shop and strategists, as does the NDP, and if they want to be competitive they’re going to have to be aggressive in getting their message out.”