In a procedural move that nonetheless shores up his rise within the party hierarchy, Li Zhanshu has been appointed to oversee the departments under the Communist Party's Central Committee.
The appointment comes just weeks after Li, an ally of President Hu Jintao, was made director of the General Office of the Central Committee. The second appointment solidifies Li's rise in the wake of the sudden transfer of top Hu aide Ling Jihua.
Dr Chen Huirong, an assistant professor of public affairs at Shanghai Jiaotong University, said it was common for the head of the General Office also to lead the work committee. Ling held both roles simultaneously, as did his predecessor, Wang Gang and Zeng Qinghong under former president Jiang Zemin.
Li, like Ling, is considered a protégé of Hu thanks in part to his having worked at the Communist Youth League, a key base of support for the president. Ling had been considered a contender for higher office until his abrupt transfer to head the party's United Front Work Department in early September.
The job change, which was seen as limiting his chances for advancement, followed a scandal after his son died in a fiery car crash in Beijing that also injured two young women.
Li was formally appointed party secretary of the work committee of the departments under the Central Committee on October 23, although the organisation did not announce the move until Thursday. The work committee mainly deals with the party affairs of cadres working at the departments. The departments include the Organisation Department and the propaganda Department of the party's Central Committee.
Li pledged to step up "political discipline" to ensure unity and party rule. He also vowed to step up the fight against corruption and ensure the "purity" of party members - a term seen as synonymous with loyalty to the party and resistance to corruption.