When business leaders complain that President
On the list — not high, but on the list — is that when Obama assembled his first Cabinet, he passed over the business community and picked a lawyer and politician, Washington Gov.
Two years later, Locke jumped at the chance to be ambassador to China. Obama's second commerce secretary,
So the Department of Commerce has been ... star-crossed during the Obama administration.
That should change now. We're greatly encouraged by Obama's choice to be his third commerce secretary.
But Pritzker has exceptionally strong credentials. She has the real-world executive experience and personal gravitas to be an outstanding representative for American business. She has a reputation for being candid. She could help Obama turn around his troubled relationship with the leaders of industry — if he listens to her.
In business circles around the world, the Pritzker name is golden. Patriarch A.N. Pritzker, son of immigrants, made a fortune investing in real estate and Chicago-area businesses. His son, Jay, expanded the family enterprise into the multibillion-dollar Marmon Group industrial conglomerate. He built
Penny Pritzker is the daughter of Jay's brother, Hyatt co-founder Donald. After earning a combined law and business degree, she held senior posts in the family's operations.
At Thursday's Rose Garden announcement, Obama noted it was Pritzker's 54th birthday and joked about the celebration in store for her on Capitol Hill: "For your birthday present, you get to go through confirmation," he cracked. "It's going to be great." The president has always done sarcasm well.
Pritzker will face intense scrutiny.
In 2008, amid speculation that Obama would tap her as commerce secretary, Pritzker withdrew from consideration. Her family at the time was undergoing a fractious breakup of its business interests. That is now in the past, but other questions loom over her nomination.
During the early 1990s, she chaired Superior Bank, a suburban Chicago lender her family co-owned that later collapsed amid accounting irregularities and subprime loans gone bad. Federal regulators seized it in 2001.
The Pritzkers and their co-owners settled with the
It was an unusual deal, and Pritzker no doubt will be asked about it.
Her nomination has outraged organized labor. The Hyatt chain, where Pritzker serves as a director, is a regular target of labor union protests. She drew the wrath of the
She will undergo the grilling, and then she should be confirmed. Pritzker has the potential to be a transformative commerce secretary. American business needs a strong voice in the Obama