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Obama lauds Bryson's private-sector experience

Calling him a man of integrity and vast experience who will play important part on his economic team, President Obama named John Bryson as his choice to replace outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

A Yale Law School graduate who has served as chairman and CEO of utility company Edison International and on numerous corporate boards, Bryson also co-founded and served as attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading national environmental organization, according to a biography on Edison's website. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

"John is somebody who will bring to this job a wealth of experience in the public and in the private sector," Obama said during the brief State Dining Room remarks. "In this new role, John will be able to draw on decades of business experience across a range of industries from his role on the boards of major companies like Disney and Boeing to his leadership in the clean-energy industry; that's the expertise that will help us create new jobs and make america more competitive in the global economy."

Bryson is just the latest addition to the Obama team from the corporate world, as the administration attempts to strengthen its ties with the business community. Earlier this year, the president named former Commerce Secretary and J.P. Morgan executive Bill Daley as chief of staff and created a new jobs council headed by GE CEO Jeff Immelt. He also delivered a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The president made a point today of highlighting Bryson's status as a promoter of clean energy, a field he has consistently argued the government must invest in to keep America competitive and spur the growth of new jobs and businesses.

"John understands this better than virtually anybody," Obama said. "Throughout a distinguished career in which he's led non-profits government agencies and large companies, he's been a fierce proponent of alternative energy."

Among the many posts Bryson has held is senior advisor to KKR -- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co -- chairman of the board of BrightSource Energy, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) Board of Overseers, co-chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy (PCIP) and a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, according to White House release.

Locke has been nominated to serve as ambassador to China.