Several Democrats also said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was actively seeking appointment as secretary of State in the new administration.
Two campaign officials said the appointment of a chief of staff was not expected for at least a day.
Instead, they said Obama would issue a written statement announcing that his transition team would be headed by John Podesta, who served as chief of staff under Clinton; Pete Rouse, who has been Obama's chief of staff in the Senate; and Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the president-elect and campaign adviser.
The officials who described the developments did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss events not yet announced.
On the day after Obama's election, several prominent Democrats described uncertainty about the extent to which lobbyists would be invited to work in the new administration. As a candidate, Obama frequently said lobbyists would not run his White House.
That left unclear whether they would be permitted to serve, and if so, in what posts and under what conditions.