WASHINGTON—The board of trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace today announced the addition of Penny Pritzker, former U.S. secretary of commerce.
“I could not be more pleased to welcome Penny Pritzker to the Board,” said Harvey V. Fineberg, chairman of the board. “She is without a doubt one of our country’s most successful entrepreneurs, most admired policymakers, and most generous philanthropists.”
Pritzker served as the U.S. secretary of commerce from 2013 to 2017. In this role, Secretary Pritzker served as a key member of President Obama’s economic team and worked closely with the business community to advance the president’s priorities of expanding growth and opportunity for all Americans. As the country’s chief commercial advocate, she led the Obama administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts, including the expansion and institutionalization of the SelectUSA initiative, the first federal program to attract foreign direct investment to the United States which to date has facilitated more than $22.5 billion in inbound investment.
More broadly, Secretary Pritzker developed and championed commercial diplomacy as an essential tool of American foreign policy. Among other initiatives, along with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, she chaired the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), which President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi created to elevate the economic partnership between the two nations. In fact, she launched the first S&CD at Carnegie in 2015. Secretary Pritzker also spearheaded the Obama administration’s efforts to build stronger bilateral ties with Mexico through her leadership of the High Level Economic Dialogue since its launch in 2013. This mechanism focused on creating economic growth and job creation in both countries due to more effective collaboration on commercial priorities, including border infrastructure, energy, economic and workforce development, travel and tourism, and innovation and entrepreneurship.
“After nearly three decades in the private sector and four incredible years serving our country as secretary of commerce, I am convinced that institutions like Carnegie, which is renowned for its independence, nonpartisanship, and global perspective, play a critical role in helping decision makers in board rooms and situation rooms navigate an increasingly complicated international landscape,” said Pritzker. “Carnegie’s leadership believes, as I do, that building a peaceful and stable international order requires policies that promote economic opportunity and address the challenge of increasing inequality around the world. I look forward to doing whatever I can to support this institution and sustain its important mission in the years ahead.”
Earlier this month, Secretary Pritzker returned to her role at PSP Capital Partners as chairman. In her twenty-seven years in the private sector before joining the Obama administration, Secretary Pritzker started five companies and led dozens of businesses in diverse sectors such as Vi, a premier housing offering for older adults, the Parking Spot, an off-site airport parking provider, and Trans Union, a financial information services provider. She has also served on the boards of a number of major corporations, such as Hyatt Hotels, LaSalle National Bank, the William Wrigley Company, and non-executive chairman of TransUnion.
Secretary Pritkzer is also very active in philanthropic, civic engagement, and policy efforts as she previously founded and served as advisory board chairman of Skills for America’s Future, a national initiative to prepare workers with in-demand skills and as a member of the Chicago school board. In 2015, Secretary Pritzker became the inaugural recipient of the “Commercial Diplomat of the Year Award” by Foreign Policy magazine. She also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, an honor given to individuals who have served with distinction in public life.
Secretary Pritzker earned J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University. She and her husband, Dr. Bryan Traubert, have two children and reside in Chicago.
“I had the good fortune to work with Penny Pritzker during her extraordinary tenure as secretary of commerce and deeply admire her skill, intellect, integrity, and decency,” said Carnegie President William J. Burns. “I am so pleased that we will have the opportunity to continue our partnership at Carnegie and to work together to address the interconnected political, security, and economic challenges to today’s international order.”