Blank fills in as Commerce deputy secretary
The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday appointed Rebecca Blank, undersecretary for economic affairs, as acting deputy secretary.
Dennis F. Hightower stepped down as deputy commerce secretary in late August. The search for his successor is ongoing.
In this temporary role, Blank will focus on matters of management and policy for the department's 12 bureaus, functioning as the Commerce Department's chief operating officer.
Blank has served the department since June 2009 as a principal economic advisor to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the head of the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), which oversees the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Day-to-day management of the Economics and Statistics Administration will be taken over by Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Nancy Potok.
Before joining the Commerce Department, Blank was the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. From 1997-1999, she was one of three members of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, participating in White House decision-making on a host of economic, social and regulatory policy issues.