The chief of President Obama's beleaguered clean-energy loan guarantee program is stepping down amid a federal probe surrounding the administration's $535-million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the bankrupt solar manufacturer. Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said Jonathan Silver, director of the department's loan guarantee program, is leaving the administration to join the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. Silver joined the administration in November 2009, two months after the department approved Solyndra's loan guarantee. He was the first politically appointed director of the program, which was created under the George W. Bush administration in 2005. In a statement, Energy Secretary Steven Chu praised Silver's accomplishments. "Under his leadership, the loan program has demonstrated considerable success, with a broad portfolio of investments that will help American companies compete in the global clean energy market," Chu said. "Because of my absolute confidence in Jonathan and the outstanding work he has done, I would welcome his continued service at the Department, but I completely understand the decision he has made. I want to thank him for his tremendous service to our country and for the work he and his outstanding team have done to renew American leadership in clean energy innovation." The Washington Post first reported the news Thursday afternoon.