White House Profile
Former Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank
Former Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Rebecca M. Blank was the Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce. She assumed the role of Acting Secretary in June, 2012 when Secretary John Bryson resigned following a medical leave of absence.

Dr. Blank was confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce in March 2012, after serving as the Acting Deputy Secretary for most of the previous year. Dr. Blank has served once before as the Acting Secretary of Commerce from August through October 2011, between the end of Secretary Gary Locke’s tenure and the beginning of Secretary John Bryson’s term.

As Acting Secretary of Commerce, Dr. Blank was a key member of President Obama’s economic team working to implement the administration’s top economic priorities to increase economic growth and accelerate job creation. Dr. Blank led the Department’s efforts to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, helping make American businesses more innovative and successful at home and more competitive abroad, and to create good-paying jobs. In her role as Deputy Secretary, Dr. Blank also functioned as Commerce’s chief operating officer, overseeing issues of management, policy and strategic planning for the department’s 12 bureaus.

Dr. Blank has served in the Department of Commerce since June 2009, when she was appointed as the principal economic adviser to the Secretary in the role of Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA).

Prior to arriving at Commerce, Dr. Blank was the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan (UM), where she implemented a major expansion of its faculty and programs. She also served as co-director of UM’s National Poverty Center.

From 1997-1999, Dr. Blank was one of three members of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, participating in White House decision-making on a host of economic, social and regulatory policy issues. Prior to her work with the Clinton administration, she was a Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and Director of the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.

A native of Missouri, Dr. Blank is a summa cum laude graduate in economics from the University of Minnesota and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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