President Obama will tap Penny S. Pritzker, a businesswoman from Chicago, to be the next Secretary of Commerce and Michael Froman as the next U.S. Trade Representative on Thursday morning, a White House official said.
Ms. Pritzker is currently chairman and CEO of the private investment firm PSP Capital Partners and its affiliate Pritzker Realty Group. She’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Realtions and is a former member of the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness and the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, as well as the Chicago Board of Education.
She has an A.B. from Harvard University and a joint J.D./M.B.A. from Stanford University.
“With more than 25 years of experience in the real estate, hospitality, senior living, financial services and other industries, Penny knows what it takes to build, grow, and invest in a business, and will be a strong advocate for policies that help grow the economy and create jobs,” a White House official said.
Ms. Pritzker is also on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corp., founded by her family with a history of tenuous relations with labor unions. She could also face scrutiny over a failed bank partially owned by her family.
She is listed by Forbes as one of the 300 wealthiest Americans, with a personal fortune of about $1.85 billion. She served as Mr. Obama’s national finance chairman in his first presidential campaign and co-chairman of his re-election campaign.
John Bryson resigned as Secretary of Commerce on June 21, 2012, and Dr. Rebecca Blank is serving as the acting secretary.
Mr. Obama will also nominate Mr. Froman, currently an Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, to be the next U.S. Trade Representative.
Mr. Froman served as the “principal White House negotiator” in completing recent trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama and oversees the Obama administration’s economic engagement with China, India, Brazil, Russia, Japan and the European Union and the development of economic strategies for the Middle East and Africa.
Mr. Froman served in the Clinton administration on the White House National Economic Council and as chief of staff for the Treasury Department. He has an A.B. in public and international affairs from Princeton, a J.D. from Harvard law and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford.
Ambassador Demetrios Marantis is currently serving as the acting U.S. Trade Representative. Former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the first black person to hold the post, recently left the administration.