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Key Commerce Dept. Official Quits Over Rift

February 23, 1988

Bruce Smart, the Commerce Department's top trade official since mid-1985, is resigning to return to the private sector, officials announced Monday.

Commerce Secretary C. William Verity said the departure resulted from a "difference of management styles" between the two men.

Smart had been one of the leading candidates to become commerce secretary when Malcolm Baldrige was killed in a horse riding accident last summer. However, President Reagan chose Verity for the job. Verity took office on Oct. 19.

Smart had served as undersecretary for international affairs since July, 1985. He reportedly had been in line to take over the No. 2 job at the Commerce Department as the deputy secretary, which became vacant with the departure earlier this month of Clarence Brown.

However, in his statement, Verity said: "A difference of management styles developed between Bruce Smart and myself, and I asked him to agree to have his name withdrawn for the position of deputy secretary."

Verity said he asked Smart to continue in the trade job but that Smart had declined.

Smart's office said he was not commenting on the announcement.

A Commerce Department spokesman said no decision had been made on the exact date of Smart's departure. The spokesman said Smart did not have a specific job yet in the private sector.

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