President Obama today announced he's asking businessman John Bryson to become the new secretary of commerce. If confirmed, he'll take over from Gary Locke, who's going to China to become the next U.S. ambassador.
In a White House release, Obama described the job as "working with the business community, fostering growth, and helping open up new markets abroad to promote jobs and opportunities here at home.”
Bryson was chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, from 1990 to 2008.
From the release:
"Bryson is a director of The Boeing Company, The Walt Disney Company and Coda Automotive, Inc., and is a senior advisor to KKR. He is chairman of the board of BrightSource Energy, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) Board of Overseers. He also serves as co-chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy (PCIP).
"Mr. Bryson is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and a director of The California Endowment and the W. M. Keck Foundation. He serves on the Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank Americas. He also previously served on a number of educational and environmental boards, including as chairman of the California Business Roundtable, co-chairman of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), trustee of Stanford University, and as a member of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC).
Bryson also served as president of the California Public Utilities Commission, chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board, and on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. At the start of his career, he was a co-founder and attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council."
Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement:
"As one of the founders of NRDC, John Bryson is a visionary leader in promoting a clean environment and a strong economy. He has compiled an exemplary record in public service and in business that underscores the strong linkage between economic and environmental progress."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it looked forward to working with Bryson once he was confirmed by the Senate. Its president and CEO, Thomas Donohue, said in a statement: "With his extensive knowledge of the private sector and years of experience successfully running a major company, we hope Mr. Bryson will be a strong voice for American businesses.”