US Commerce Secretary Eric Schmidt?

President Obama is reportedly considering Google CEO Eric Schmidt for the soon-to-be-vacant position of US Commerce Secretary. That position is currently occupied by Gary Locke who is becoming US ambassador to China. Current ambassador Jon Huntsman, a Republican, is considering a 2012 presidential run and leaving his post on April 30.

According to Bloomberg:

The next Commerce secretary will have a significant role in Obama’s National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports to $3.1 trillion within five years.  . . .  Schmidt, 55, announced in January that he plans to step down as Google CEO in April and become executive chairman . . .  Schmidt gave $25,000 to Obama’s inaugural committee, and he has regularly consulted with the president on economic matters.

Eric Schmidt is only one of several candidates for the role. Others are Pfizer Inc. CEO Jeffrey Kindler and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Previously there were rumors that Schmidt was working on developing a TV interview program with a CNN producer.

Schmidt is stepping down from his CEO role at Google after a decade but was to remain in the position of “Executive Chairman.” If he were to be appointed Commerce Secretary he would need to sever ties with the company entirely.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: Employees


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Tim Cohn

    Would he step down to take the post?

  • Greg Sterling

    My guess is that it will go to Ron Kirk but we’ll see. If it were Schmidt . . . yes he would need to step down and probably do something to insulate his Google stock from any of his control.

  • Tim Cohn

    Aren’t Schmidt and Google et al the de facto “US Commerce Secretary” already?

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