Google CEO Eric Schmidt may be tapped by the Obama administration as the next Commerce Secretary. The cabinet post will soon be vacated by Secretary Gary Locke, who will be replacing Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing. Anonymous sources say that President Obama is looking to the business community to fill the position. Another possible candidate is former Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler. If this is, in fact, the decision, it pits representatives of two of the country’s largest industries for the coveted cabinet position: high tech and pharmaceuticals.
Administration spokesperson Jen Psaki commented on the rumors, saying, “We are at a very early stage in the process and no decisions have been made.
In January, SanJose.com reported on a restructuring underway at the top of Google, with cofounder Larry Page replacing Schmidt as CEO. At the time it was reported that Schmidt “will be transitioning to an ‘Executive Chairman’ position, which will include acting as a government liaison of sorts.” The Obama administration has consulted with Schmidt in the past. The two met most recently when the President had a dinner with local high tech leaders at the home of John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in February.