WHEN BUSINESS leaders complain that President Barack Obama has been at best neglectful and at worst hostile toward the nation’s job creators, they cite a long list of grievances.
On the list is that when Obama assembled his first Cabinet, he passed over the business community and picked a lawyer and politician, Gary Locke, to be secretary of commerce.
Obama’s second commerce secretary, John Bryson, had the business pedigree, but resigned for health reasons last year.
The Department of Commerce has been … star-crossed during this administration.
That should change now. We’re greatly encouraged by Obama’s third choice.
Yes, Penny Pritzker is a friend, campaign contributor and fundraiser for the president.
But Pritzker has exceptionally strong credentials. She has the real-world executive experience and personal gravitas. She has a reputation for being candid. She could help Obama turn around his troubled relationship with the leaders of industry.
In business circles, the Pritzker name is golden. Patriarch A.N. Pritzker made a fortune investing in real estate and Chicago-area businesses. His son, Jay, expanded the family enterprise into the multibillion-dollar Marmon Group. He built Hyatt Hotels Corp. into a far-flung chain.
Penny Pritzker is the daughter of Jay’s brother, Hyatt co-founder Donald.
Pritzker will face intense scrutiny.
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.
She will undergo the grilling, and then she should be confirmed.
As a longtime friend of the president’s, Pritzker has his trust. We hope, as commerce secretary, she has his ear.