Hilary Ross, center, watches as Vice President Mike Pence swears-in new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Feb. 28, 2017, in the Vice President's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.
Ross is set to become an influential voice in Trump's economic team and was expected to start work on renegotiating trade relationships with China and Mexico.
While commerce secretaries rarely take the spotlight in Washington, Ross is expected to play an outsize role in pursuing Trump's campaign pledge to slash U.S. trade deficits and bring manufacturing jobs back to America.
Some Democrats criticized Ross as another billionaire in a Trump Cabinet that says it is focused on the working class and for being a "vulture" investor who has eliminated some jobs. Reuters reported last month that Ross's companies had shipped some 2,700 jobs overseas since 2004.