US searches Google for Commerce Secretary

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The Independent Online

The Obama administration is wooing Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, as a potential Commerce Secretary, as the President seeks to strike a more business-friendly tone.

Mr Schmidt, who recently relinquished the job of chief executive at the search-engine giant, was a contributor and occasional adviser to Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, and has been consulted on technology and economic policy matters by the White House.

The administration has begun internal discussions over the Commerce Secretary job, following the nomination of the current holder, Gary Locke, to be US ambassador to China. It is unclear whether Mr Schmidt would be interested in quitting Google for Washington.

The former chief executive of Pfizer, Jeffrey Kindler, has also been mooted as a potential candidate, according to insiders who spoke to Bloomberg News.

And Ron Kirk, who has had a senior role pressing the administration's agenda as US trade representative, is also considered a leading contender for the post.