KKR Adviser Tapped For Commerce Dept.

Jun 2 2011 | 1:39pm ET

President Barack Obama has nominated a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts adviser to serve as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Obama tapped John Bryson on Tuesday for the Cabinet-level post, where he'll succeed outgoing Sec. Gary Locke if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. That is no sure thing, as Senate Republicans have pledged to block any Commerce nominee until the Obama administration submits free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama for Senate approval.

Bryson, a former CEO of energy company Edison International and a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, joined KKR in August 2008 as a senior adviser, specializing in infrastructure investments.

Obama called Bryson "a fierce proponent of alternative energy," a fact that led some Republicans to say, trade agreements or no trade agreements, they'll oppose his nomination. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called the NRDC "a radical environmental organization."

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