U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is proud of her work heading the State Department as she stepped down from the post after four years in office.
Clinton told employees at the State Department Friday that she has been honored to lead the agency and proud of its efforts to elevate diplomacy and development.
Clinton said these are complex and dangerous times, but she is more optimistic today than when she arrived on the job four years ago. She said this is because she has seen the work that U.S. diplomats and development experts do to advance peace and prosperity.
Clinton's replacement, Senator John Kerry, is to be sworn in in a private ceremony Friday. He will become the Obama Administraton's second secretary of state.
At his confirmation hearing Kerry told his colleagues he believes Clinton has set a high mark for "tireless efforts."
Although Clinton has not confirmed her intention to run again for president, there is widespread speculation that she will be a candidate in 2016, just as she was in 2008, when she eventually lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama.
Kerry will be the 68th U.S. secretary of state since the nation's first president, George Washington, named Thomas Jefferson to the post in 1789. Jefferson took office as president eight years later.
Kerry officially starts work on Monday.