Laura Rozen has an interesting theory:
But perhaps the audience for what Haaretz printed was indirectly Iran. We're taking Ross off the policy guys, because he's "too associated with Israel," Haaretz is told.... The underlying message: we're getting rid of this obstacle to engagement. If you'll engage, it will be with non Ross who is "demoted" to a job at the White House doing something vaguely strategic. And it was all set in motion before events of the past few days in Iran, it was planned to coincide with Iran's elections and post-elections US full court push to get engagement going in a big way.
The timing here--immediately after the election--definitely seems relevant.