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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (AP) -- Paul O'Neill, whose
outspokenness won him praise as a captain of industry but
often landed him in hot water as President Bush's treasury
secretary, announced his resignation Friday.

Sworn in Jan. 20, 2001, O'Neill is expected to leave office
within the next few weeks. During his time as treasury
secretary, O'Neill's blunt-speaking style served as a lightning
rod for detractors and sometimes could even make his
supporters wince.

He is the first member of Bush's Cabinet to leave.

"It has been a privilege to serve the nation during these
challenging times," O'Neill said in a letter to the president.
"I thank you for that opportunity."

His two years at Treasury were peppered with controversy.

O'Neill, who left his job as chairman of Alcoa, the world's
biggest aluminum maker, to take the Cabinet post, touched
off a furor when he said he would keep nearly $100 million
worth of stock in the company. Under fire by critics about
potential conflicts of interest, he eventually reversed course
and sold the stock.

As the president's chief economic spokesman, he was
frequently criticized as being either too enthusiastic about
the economy's prospects and the stock market or too
ho-hum.

When Wall Street reopened after the Sept. 11, 2001,
terrorist attacks, O'Neill turned into an economic cheerleader,
predicting on Sept. 17 that the Dow Jones industrial average
could be approaching all-time highs within 12 to 18 months.