March 19, 2011
The word in Washington is that President Obama is close to naming departing CEO Eric Schmidt as the nation’s next Secretary of Commerce.
Mr. Schmidt picked up an important vote of confidence earlier this week when former Reagan Administration Commerce Department counsel Clyde Prestowitz essentially endorsed Schmidt for the job. That didn’t happen by accident and it’s a strong signal that the GOP DC establishment will support a Schmidt appointment. Such support would almost certainly insure a smooth confirmation process.
Mr. Schmidt is available to take this assignment. At the end of January, Google announced that he would shortly be leaving his CEO position. His last day is set for April 4, when cofounder Larry Page will take over.
Schmidt was at Google for 10 years, and reportedly decided to leave after battling Google’s cofounders over its decision to pull out of China. The company left China due to in part to free speech battles, and in part because Chinese hackers were attacking Google.
A final decision is expected within the next two weeks. The outgoing Commerce Secretary, former Washington Governor Gary Locke, was nominated by President Obama to serve as the US Ambassador to China.