Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who has been under investigation for his role in two car crashes earlier this month, said on Thursday he was resigning to "prevent distractions" at the department he led for less than a year.
"I have informed the President that I am resigning as Secretary of Commerce," Bryson said in a letter to Commerce Department employees.
"The work that you do to help America's entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission," Bryson said.
President Barack Obama, in a statement, said that he had accepted Bryson's resignation on Wednesday night. He thanked the former energy utility company executive for his service.
"As Secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation's businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad," said Obama, who was due to meet with Bryson on Thursday.
Obama said Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, who has served as acting Commerce Secretary since last week, would continue in that position.
Bryson, 68, has been on medical leave since his involvement in the crashes near his home in California that department officials linked to a seizure.
The incident raised questions about Bryson's health and his future service in the Obama administration.
Police in San Gabriel, California, declined to comment on the case on Wednesday except to say that it remained under investigation and that nothing had been presented to the Los Angeles County district attorney.