SBA Deputy Expected to be Nominated as Agency Chief

The Small Business Administration's second in command is expected to be named acting administrator if agency chief Steven Preston leaves to head the Housing and Urban Development Department, as requested by President Bush.

When SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza was confirmed for her current position in December 2006, she said: "I will bring to the Small Business Administration a goal-oriented management philosophy with a history of successes on two continents."

At the time, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship unanimously endorsed her for the deputy administrator position and she was praised by the panel's Republican and Democratic leaders.

Carranza was named National Hispanic Woman of the Year by Hispanic Business magazine in 2004 and worked for 30 years at shipping giant United Parcel Service, or UPS. She started at UPS in 1976 as a part-time, night-shift clerk in Los Angeles and worked her way up the corporate ladder to become vice president of air operations, among other positions she held.

The SBA had no comment on the expected nomination. Sources say if Carranza is named SBA chief, she likely would lead the agency at least through the end of Bush's term as president.

Senate Democrats must confirm Preston for him to take the helm at HUD, a department that's been under a lot of scrutiny lately as the housing market crumbles. Hill sources said they expected Preston's nomination hearings to be difficult and even "prickly." HUD's previous director, Alphonso Jackson, resigned following allegations of favoritism in his dealings with a Philadelphia developer and criticism of his failure to implement an adequate response to the housing industry crisis.

President Bush said in a statement that Preston is a good candidate to head HUD because while at the SBA he "spearheaded a reform agenda to make the agency more accountable, effective and responsive."

Sources said Preston has garnered respect at the SBA for his reform efforts and for trying to improve employee morale. He sent a video to SBA employees on Monday addressing his possible move to HUD. He told workers that he was "honored by the nomination" and said he was proud of the SBA for being customer-focused and a great place to work, but he added, "I know this announcement raises many questions about the immediate future."

By Sharon McLoone |  April 25, 2008; 3:05 PM ET
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Posted by: Aggrieved Property Owner | April 25, 2008 5:24 PM

Does anyone think she'll be a good leader of the SBA?

Posted by: rachel p | April 25, 2008 8:40 PM

The "S" stands for "small" busines adminstration -- the big deal of a Hispanic who rose to the top of a fortune 500 is irrelevant. I would love to see a small business person of any race and/or religion who had the understanding of growing a small business to a large business obtain this position will be more important than obtaining a position due to a minority status.

Posted by: JWP | April 27, 2008 9:23 PM

Barreto was a small business owner who was head of SBA but he resigned. Small business experience is best but its not going to fix the problem.

Posted by: paul p | April 28, 2008 10:59 AM

When I first read this article I thought "affirmative action at work" but I see that she started off at UPS as a clerk and worked her way up. As someone who worked in the very male dominated, macho, sexist shipping industry for 10 years, more power to her! It's no picnic being a woman at UPS (I worked for their biggest competitor Fed Up). It sounds like she's earned the promotion. Kudos!

Posted by: April | April 30, 2008 9:46 AM

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