WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed on Friday she will leave her position to lead the University of California and thanked President Barack Obama for the chance to serve the country as part of his Cabinet.

"I will be nominated as the next President of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation's next generation of leaders," she said in a statement. "I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history."

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Steve Holland; Editing by Vicki Allen)