Obama announces Commerce Secretary and Trade Representative Nominees
On Thursday, President Obama will complete his economic team by nominating Penny Pritzker to be his Secretary of Commerce. The fundraiser and business executive from Chicago has been a longtime supporter of Obama.
At the same time, Obama will announce his U.S. trade representative would be a top advisor and aide Mike Froman, both of the nominees must be first confirmed by the Senate.
Obama will make the announcements of his nominations prior to departing for Costa Rica and Mexico on a three-day trip.
Pritzker raised a great deal of money in both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and is a board member for Hyatt Hotels Corp. Pritzker has a net worth of approximately $1.85 billion and is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 300 wealthiest Americans.
Her nomination has been long-rumored, and could receive some fire from union supporters. Hyatt and the union representing hospitality workers are amidst a long battle over a new contract. The workers at Hyatt have protested the treatment they have received from the company.
Pritzker also might be quizzed by Senators over the collapse in 2001 of Superior Bank, a family owned bank, which specialized in below prime lending. Obama was considering Pritzker after his first election but she withdrew her name from consideration.
Froman is one of Obama’s long time friends as they worked on the Harvard Law Review together. He served under the president as the deputy national security advisor for economic affairs that were international. While in that role, Froman helped Obama prepare for over a dozen international summits.
If Froman receives a Senate confirmation, he would be filling the shoes of Ron Kirk who left the position of U.S. Trade Representative earlier in 2013.