U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson resigned his office Thursday after being involved in multiple car accidents and suffering a seizure in early June.
“I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the department,” wrote Bryson, in a letter of resignation submitted to President Barack Obama.
Bryson was found unconscious in his car after two hit-and-run accidents, one involving multiple collisions with the same vehicle. There was no indication of any drug or alcohol use, and Bryson was diagnosed with a complex partial seizure. Police are investigating the accidents, but no charges have been filed. Bryson had taken a leave of absence following the accident.
Obama accepted the resignation, and thanked Bryson for his service.
“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,” Obama said in a statement.
Bryson served as commerce secretary for just eight months. He was confirmed on October 21, 2011, succeeding Gary Locke in the position. Bryson had served as Chairman and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison. He also served as a director on the board of Boeing. He had served as President of California’s Public Utilities Commission from 1979 to 1982, and as chair of the Pacific Council on International Policy from 2008 to 2011.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank has been serving as acting commerce secretary since Bryson began his leave of absence, and will continue in that role. She also served as acting secretary during the period between Locke’s resignation and Bryson’s confirmation.
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