“I am grateful to the Senate for moving quickly to confirm Dennis Hightower, and I’m thrilled to have him on board.” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “His management expertise and strong leadership skills will be a valuable asset to the Commerce team as we work to make American businesses more competitive and strengthen the economy.
“I have called on him to ensure that the Department of Commerce leads the way in government efficiency, effectiveness and performance management, and I am confident he will excel in this new role.”
Most recently, Hightower was chief executive officer of Europe Online Networks S.A., a privately held broadband interactive entertainment company based in Luxembourg. From 1987 to 1996, he was a senior executive of The Walt Disney Company, where he led multi-billion dollar enterprises as president of Walt Disney president of Television & Telecommunications and president of Consumer Products, Europe/Middle East and Africa.
“I am honored to accept this position,” Hightower said. “The Commerce Department is critical to the economic recovery of the United States, and I will work tirelessly alongside the dedicated employees of the Department to be sure businesses have the tools they need to succeed in the global economy.”
Hightower also last week named the department’s current White House Liaison Rick Siger as his chief of staff. The Pittsburgh native served Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade from 2006-2007, and has since served the Obama Administration, Transition, and Obama for America campaign in a series of key positions.
In addition to his work in the private sector, Hightower has also trained future business leaders as a former professor of management at Harvard Business School, where he focused on leadership, building emerging markets and global general management.
Hightower most recently served on the Boards of Directors of Accenture, Domino’s Pizza, Lightfleet (a start-up high technology company), and privately-held Brown Capital Management. He has formerly served as a board member of The Gillette Company, Northwest Airlines, PanAmSat Corporation, Phillip-Van Heusen Corporation, The TJX Companies, Inc., and as a member of the Price Waterhouse Chairman’s Advisory Council.
Hightower is a decorated Vietnam veteran and has served as a member of the Defense Business Board. He holds an M.B.A. degree from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. degree and honorary doctorate from Howard University.