Obama Taps Billionaire Penny Pritzker for Commerce, Aide as Trade Rep

PRITZKERPresident Obama today nominated billionaire campaign fundraiser Penny Pritzker to head the Commerce Department and trusted, longtime economic aide Michael Froman as the next U.S. trade representative, in a ceremony at the White House.

Pritzker, who is the chairman and CEO of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group in Chicago, ranks among the wealthiest and most powerful women in America, according to Forbes magazine. She is a noted philanthropist and businesswoman, serving on the board of Hyatt Hotels, which was co-founded by her father.

She has been a loyal political supporter of Obama, largely credited with orchestrating his record-smashing $750 million fundraising haul in 2008 as the campaign’s national finance chair. During the 2012 campaign, Pritzker took a slightly less prominent role, but ranked among Obama’s top bundlers, raking in millions of dollars and hosting fundraisers at her Chicago home.

After the first presidential campaign, Pritzker was rumored to be interested in the Commerce Department post, but a nomination never materialized. She ultimately settled for a seat on Obama’s Jobs Council and has flown with the president on Air Force One.

“Penny is one of our country’s most distinguished business leaders,” said President Obama in a ceremony Thursday morning at the White House. “She’s got more than 25 years of management experience and industries, including real estate, finance and hospitality. She’s built companies from the ground up. She knows from experience that no government program alone can take the…

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