U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Dan Brouillette, deputy to departing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to lead the Energy Department, calling him a "total professional" with unparalleled experience.
Trump acted quickly, just a day after Perry told the president he would be stepping down by the end of the year. Perry said his decision was not related to his role in administration actions on Ukraine that are now the focus of a House impeachment inquiry.
Trump made the announcement in a post on Twitter on Friday.
The Senate would have to confirm Brouillette's role.
Brouillette, 57, has taken on increasing responsibilities at the Energy Department in recent months as Perry signalled he would resign. He went on international trips for the department and sat in for Perry during several cabinet meetings.
Brouillette has also embraced Trump's call for U.S. dominance of international energy markets and says he backs an "all of the above" policy that promotes nuclear and renewable solar and wind energy as well as coal, natural gas and oil. Environmental groups, many lawmakers and others fault the administration for trying to spur the country's oil and gas production boom rather than rein in the climate-damaging fossil fuels.
He has travelled from Japan to former Soviet states to Qatar, Israel and beyond, promoting U.S. natural gas and production companies.
"When it comes to exporting LNG [liquified natural gas], the United States is open for business," Brouillette said in one such European stop last year.
Brouillette previously worked as an executive at USAA, which provides insurance and other financial services to members of the military, and as a vice-president at Ford Motor Company.
A native of Louisiana, he was a member of the state's mineral and energy board from 2013 to 2016. Before that, he served at the Energy Department as an assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs for two years under President George W. Bush.
Joe McMonigle, who was a department chief of staff under Bush, said Brouillette does not have the instincts of a politician like Perry, who had been the longest-serving governor of Texas. But like Perry, Brouillette has an easy relationship with many Democratic and Republican lawmakers, McMonigle said.
"I don't know of a single issue where he differs from the president," McMonigle said.