President-elect George Bush will name Texas oilman Robert Mosbacher as secretary of commerce and Carla Hills, a former housing secretary, as his special trade representative, Bush transition sources said Tuesday.
Bush planned to formally name the two, who will be his top trade officials, later in the day, said the sources, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.Hills, 54, is the first woman the president-elect has named to a major position. A lawyer, she was former President Ford's secretary of Housing and Urban Development and thus continues a trend of Bush naming veterans of previous Republican administrations.
Mosbacher, 61, is a longtime friend of the vice president and was national finance chairman of Bush's 1988 campaign.
Although trade representative was not originally a Cabinet-level post, President Reagan gave it that status in his administration.
The two officials will oversee the nation's trade policy. The office of U.S. trade representative negotiates trade agreements, and the secretary of commerce enforces them and seeks to expand markets for U.S. goods.
Mosbacher will take over Commerce from former steel executive C. William Verity, who has held the job for only a year. Reagan appointed Verity after the death of Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige in a horseback riding accident.
The sources said Mosbacher had been promised the job several weeks ago but that the FBI background check on him had taken longer than expected because of his vast financial holdings.
Hills will succeed U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter to a job that has become more sensitive as the national trade deficit has risen to record levels. It was $170 billion last year and is running at an annual rate of $137 billion this year.
In deciding to name Hills to the post, Bush was also beginning to fulfill a promise to name women to his administration.