Penny Pritzker was confirmed as US Secretary of Commerce Tuesday in a 97-to-1 Senate vote.
Pritzker, heiress to the Hyatt hotel empire, is estimated to be worth $1.85 billion and is among the 300 richest Americans.
"Penny is one of our country's most distinguished business leaders," President Barack Obama told reporters during a press conference in the Rose Garden after her nomination. "She's got more than 25 years of management experience in industries, including real estate, finance, and hospitality. She's built companies from the ground up."
The Chicago Tribune said that she had become "a conduit for business executives to voice their frustrations with the president."
The only vote opposed was Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont.
Pritzker is the fourth woman in Obama's current cabinet, and the wealthiest member.
She will be charged with leading difficult trade negotiations between the European Union and Pacific Rim countries.
Before her appointment, she was on the board of Hyatt hotels as well as the head of PSP Capital Partners, an investment firm.
She had initially understated her income by $80 million in a disclosure form required for her nomination.