US commerce secretary John Bryson announced his resignation Thursday, just weeks after he was involved in a sequence of car accidents in Los Angeles that were blamed on a seizure.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Bryson said he would leave the cabinet, judging his June 9 seizure "could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary."
"Our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the Department," he continued.
Bryson is under a felony investigation in California over the two hit-and-run incidents.
According to an account of events from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on that Saturday evening, Bryson's Lexus rear-ended another car as it waited at a railway crossing in the city of San Gabriel.
Bryson then spoke to three males in the damaged car and drove away, hitting their Buick again in the process.
He then drove to the city of Rosemead, where he struck a second car.
The secretary later was found "alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle," said officials.
Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected as being factors in the accidents, and no one was injure, but the 68-year-old took a medical leave of absence afterward.
He told staff early Thursday that he would be replaced -- at least temporarily -- by current deputy commerce secretary Rebecca Blank, who has served in his place since the incidents.
Bryson had been tapped for the cabinet post last year after his predecessor Gary Locke became ambassador to China.
His candidature was seen as an attempt by Obama to mend ties with business and to get the US economy back on track.
His candidature won overwhelming cross-party support, passing the Senate in a 74 to 26 vote in favor, thanks to his business acumen, which had led him to stints on the boards of Boeing and Walt Disney.
Bryson described his department's main role as being "to help America's entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs."
In a statement Thursday, Obama praised Bryson's work.
"I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best," the president said in a statement.
"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."