— -- Many in Washington and the energy industry were surprised when President Bush nominated Deputy Treasury Secretary Samuel Bodman to succeed Spencer Abraham as secretary of energy.
The new energy secretary has limited experience in energy policy. However, he is no novice in the Bush administration. Before serving as deputy treasury secretary, Bodman was the deputy to Secretary of Commerce Don Evans.
Bodman is responsible for moving a stalled energy bill through Congress -- a bill containing such controversial proposals as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
Bush will also look to Bodman to advance his second term energy agenda that includes weaning the United States from foreign oil by strengthening energy development at home.
In describing this agenda in his Dec. 10, 2004, announcement of Bodman's nomination, Bush said: "We will continue improving pipelines and gas terminals and power lines, so that energy flow is reliable. We will develop and deploy the latest technology to provide a new generation of cleaner and more efficient energy sources."
As energy secretary, Bodman is the government's representation in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The energy department also has responsibility for the nation's nuclear arsenal.
It is rare for a deputy secretary to be promoted to a Cabinet-level job in his department, but it is particularly rare to move to the top job in another agency.
Before being named the deputy secretary of commerce in 2001, Bodman was the chief executive officer of the Boston-based specialty chemical maker Cabot Corp. He joined Cabot in 1987 after acting as president and chief operating officer of Fidelity Investments since 1983.
Bodman taught engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for six years. He became the director of MIT's School of Engineering Practice.
"In academics, in business, and in government, Sam Bodman has shown himself to be a problem solver who knows how to set goals and he knows how to reach them," the president said in announcing the nomination. "He will bring to the Department of Energy a great talent for management and the precise thinking of an engineer."
Bodman, 66, graduated with a B.S. from Cornell University and completed his doctorate at MIT. He is married to M. Diane Bodman and has three children, two stepchildren and eight grandchildren.
In accepting the nomination, Bodman said, "the job as energy secretary, in many ways, combines all aspects of my life's professional work."