CHICAGO – Businesswoman Penny Pritzker resigned from the Chicago Board of Education on Thursday amid speculation that the longtime ally to President Obama could be named the next U.S. Commerce secretary.
Pritzker was a top fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, serving as his finance chairwoman in 2008, and is considered a leading candidate to run the Commerce Department.
The White House wouldn’t comment Thursday on her prospects of being tapped for the job.
Obama isn’t expected to announce his nominee before leaving for the Mideast next week or while he is overseas.
He’s due back in Washington on March 23.
Pritzker is an heir of the family that founded the Hyatt chain of hotels. Pritzker did not mention the potential Cabinet post or give a reason for her resignation in a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She thanked Emanuel for the opportunity to serve and said she wholeheartedly supports his efforts to improve Chicago’s schools.