Facts about John Bryson
John Bryson Biography
John Bryson is the environmentalist and businessman who served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2011-2013.
Born in New York, John Bryson graduated from Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon in 1961. He then went on to Stanford University, where he graduated in 1965, and earned a law degree from Yale in 1969. The next year he joined a group of Yale classmates in founding the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, where he worked until 1974. He was president of the California Public Utilities Commission from 1979-82.
In 1984 he switched to the private side, joining Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of energy giant Edison International. Despite the ironies of a confirmed environmentalist working for a giant energy company, Bryson proved to be a big success. In 1990 he was named chairman and CEO of Edison International. Over the next two decades he repositioned Edison as a somewhat “kinder, gentler” energy company that developed wind and solar power and was willing to work with regulators on issues like conservation and greenhouse gas emissions — although the company (and Bryson) still came in for plenty of criticism from environmentalists.
He stepped down in 2008 after 18 years in the job. Three years later he was nominated as Secretary of Commerce by President Barack Obama; he was sworn in on October 21, 2011. In June of 2012 he was cited with felony hit-and-run charges by police after a bizarre incident in San Gabriel, California when he hit two cars before being found passed out at the wheel. Bryson was later determined to have suffered a seizure; no charges were filed, but he stepped down as Secretary of Commerce later the same month. He was succeeded in 2013 by Penny Pritzker.
John Bryson married his wife, Louise, in 1974. They have four daughters… Bryson became Secretary of Commerce after his predecessor, Gary Locke, was named Ambassador to China in 2011.