The United States Secretary of Commerce is the head of the United States Department of Commerce concerned with business and industry; the Department states its mission to be "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce." Until 1913 there was one Secretary of Commerce and Labor, uniting this department with the Department of Labor, which is now headed by a separate Secretary of Labor.
The Office of the Secretary contains a Deputy Secretary of Commerce, a Chief of Staff, a Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, an Assistant Secretary for Commerce and Intergovernmental Affairs, a Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration, a Chief Information Officer, a General Counsel, an Inspector General, an Office of Business Liaison, an Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, an Office of Public Affairs, an Office of White House Liaison, and an International IPR Enforcement Coordinator.
The current Secretary of Commerce is former Washington Governor Gary Locke, who was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama on February 25, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on March 24, 2009.
Locke is President Obama's third choice for the post following New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who dropped out of consideration in early January 2009, and Republican Senator Judd Gregg from New Hampshire, who withdrew his nomination in February 2009.
Locke is the first Chinese American Secretary of Commerce, and the third Asian American in Obama's cabinet, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the most of any administration in United States history.
Prior to Locke's confirmation, the most-recent Senate confirmed Commerce Secretary was Carlos Gutierrez, whose January 20, 2009, resignation coincided with the end of President George W. Bush's administration.
The line of succession for the Secretary of Commerce is as follows:
List of Secretaries of Commerce
Living former Secretaries of Commerce
Full article ▸