Department of Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned Wednesday night, saying his recent seizure could be a distraction to efforts to rebuild the country’s economy.
Bryson’s departure comes less than two weeks after he hit two vehicles near his California home.
He will be temporarily replaced by Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank, who has served as acting secretary since Bryson’s accident.
Bryson’s letter to Commerce Employees:
Dear Commerce Team,
I have informed the President that I am resigning as Secretary of Commerce.
The work that you do to help America’s entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission.
I feel privileged to have been part of the progress we have made together for our businesses and workers as they “build it here and sell it everywhere.”
As I step down from the Cabinet, Dr. Blank will continue to serve as Acting Secretary. As you know, she provided very able leadership in this role last year, and I have every confidence that on her watch going forward the Commerce Department will continue to fulfill its mission with excellence.
In my personal capacity, I will continue to do everything I can to support the President and America’s businesses as they continue to advance innovation, U.S. competitiveness, and prosperity for our people in the months and years ahead.
Thank you for your many thoughtful and kind notes over this last week. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with you.
Statement by President Obama:
Last night I accepted the resignation of John Bryson as Secretary of the Department of Commerce. I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best.
As Secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation’s businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad. John has proven himself an effective and distinguished leader throughout his career in both the public and private sectors, from his success in the business world to his work leading on issues in the renewable energy industry. I am grateful that he brought that invaluable experience and expertise to my administration, and am pleased that he has agreed to continue supporting our efforts to strengthen the economy and create good jobs by serving as a member of my Export Council going forward.
I am confident that Dr. Rebecca Blank will serve the American people well as Acting Secretary and that the Commerce Department staff will continue their tireless work putting forward policies that help our workers and businesses compete.