Obama to Tap Energy Exec for Commerce Former energy CEO John Bryson picked to head Dept. of Commerce By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted May 31, 2011 11:34 AM CDT 0 comments Comments John Bryson, President of Edison International, smiles before speaking during a conference on Capitol Hill November 29, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images) (Newser) – President Obama will nominate businessman John Bryson to lead the Commerce Department, a White House official said today. Bryson's appointment brings another private sector player into an administration that has been making a concerted effort to improve its relationship with the business community. Bryson is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, a California-based energy company. He also has an extensive background in environmental issues, having co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and served on a United Nations advisory group on energy and climate change. Obama will announce Bryson's nomination at the White House this afternoon, the official said. If confirmed by the Senate, Bryson would replace outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whom Obama recently named as his next ambassador to China. Following the sweeping Republican victories in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama admitted that he hadn't done enough to assure the business community that he was on its side.