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Pritzker chosen for Commerce secretary

By Laurie Bennett

May 2, 2013 at 9:35am

After weeks of speculation, President Obama has nominated billionaire Penny Pritzker to be Commerce secretary.

A member of the Hyatt Hotels Pritzker family, she was national finance chair for Obama’s first presidential campaign, and a national co-chair of his re-election bid.

The two have long-time connections in their hometown of Chicago. Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, was her children’s basketball coach.

Penny Pritzker
Penny Pritzker

Pritzker is the daughter of the late Donald Pritzker, founder of Hyatt. Forbes estimates her wealth at $1.85 billion.

Over the years, the family has had runins with labor unions, which couldn’t likely hurt her prospects for a government post during Obama’s first term.

In March, she resigned from the Chicago school board, which many saw as a sign that she would be asked to join Obama’s cabinet.

The president also announced his nomination of Michael Froman to be the U.S. trade representative.

Like Pritzker, Froman was a bundler for the 2008 campaign. He is currently the Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international economics.

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