Penny Pritzker was sworn in today as the nation's 38th Commerce Secretary. As a key member of President Obama's economic team, Secretary Pritzker will lead the U.S. Department of Commerce in carrying out the important work that gives entrepreneurs and businesses the tools they need to create jobs and keep the American economy growing, two of the administration's highest priorities. She will also work extensively with the business community, bringing their concerns and ideas to the forefront.
"I am pleased the Senate took bipartisan action to confirm Penny Pritzker as our next Commerce Secretary," said President Obama. "Penny is a proven leader, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the most accomplished and highly-respected women in business today. She knows what it takes to build companies from the ground up, and she shares my belief in doing everything we can to help businesses and workers succeed and make America a magnet for good jobs. Penny will be a key member of my economic team as we continue to work to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class."
"It is an honor to join President Obama's economic team as Secretary of Commerce," said Secretary Pritzker. "The Department of Commerce provides many unique assets that are critical to strengthening our economy, creating jobs, and ensuring America's competitiveness--from support for manufacturing and exports, to the promotion of innovation, to the economic data that startups and businesses rely on. Our Department stands ready to serve as an active partner to the business community as we work together to continue building a 21st century American economy."
Penny Pritzker was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Secretary of Commerce on May 9, 2013. She is a civic and business leader with more than 25 years of experience in the real estate, hospitality, senior living, and financial services industries. Ms. Pritzker served as CEO of PSP Capital Partners, and has previously developed such diverse companies as Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt), a leader in luxury living for older adults; The Parking Spot, a large U.S. network of off-site airport parking facilities; and Pritzker Realty Group.
President Obama appointed Ms. Pritzker to the President's Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, which formerly advised the administration on economic growth and job creation. Ms. Pritzker previously served on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. She has also served on the boards of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Marmon Group and LaSalle Bank Corporation. She is past executive chairman of TransUnion, a global financial services information company.
Much of Ms. Pritzker's civic work focuses on public education. She served as advisory board chairman of Skills for America's Future, The Aspen Institute. Skills for America's Future is a national initiative that brings together businesses, community colleges and others to prepare workers for 21st century jobs. In 2012, she helped launch Skills for Chicagoland's Future, the first city model of Skills for America's Future. Ms. Pritzker is past chair of the Chicago Public Education Fund, the first venture philanthropy to raise private equity to invest in public schools, and a former member of the Chicago Board of Education.
In 2012, Ms. Pritzker received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, an honor given to individuals who have served with distinction in public life and have shown a special commitment to seeking out informed opinions and thoughtful views.
Ms. Pritzker earned her bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University and J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Stanford University. She and her husband Dr. Bryan Traubert have two children.