The COO of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Robert L. Mallett, is widely expected to be nominated Secretary of Commerce, the department's CEO, succeeding William M. Daley, who's leaving to head up Vice President Gore's presidential campaign. A Harvard Law School graduate, Mallett has championed small firms, medium-sized businesses, and female-owned companies in domestic procurement opportunities and in international commerce. Mallett was confirmed as deputy secretary of Commerce, the department's No. 2 job, on Sept. 26, 1997. Daley's official departure is set for July 15, although this past weekend he made the rounds of the Sunday television talk shows in his new role as Gore campaign manager. Daley is considered to be a master political strategist. In 1993, before becoming Commerce Secretary, he successfully guided NAFTA to Congressional approval. And most recently, he guided permanent normal trade relations with China to approval in the House of Representatives.