White House press secretary Scott McClellan announced Thursday that Bush spoke with Chao to make sure she was agreeable to remain in the Cabinet, the Associated Press reported.
As DoL Secretary, Chao frequently impacts benefits and retirement services professionals since DoL is a prime enforcer of federal benefits laws. Under Chao is the Employee Benefits Security Administration, headed by Assistant Secretary Ann Combs.
Confirmed by the United States Senate on January 29, 2001, Chao was the first Asian-American woman appointed to a President’s cabinet in US history.
Before taking the DoL post, she was:
- deputy secretary at the US Department of Transportation
- chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and deputy maritime administrator in the US Transportation Department.
- Peace Corps director.
Previously, Chao also worked as vice president of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and as a banker with Citicorp.
She received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and her undergraduate degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College. Chao is married to US Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.