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Auto Alliance Chief Drops 'Acting' From Title

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By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, June 30, 2005

Looking for a high-profile name for CEO, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers was rebuffed a couple of years ago by then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, who was persuaded to stay in the Bush administration until the end of the first term. So, the group appointed retired trade association executive Frederick L. Webber as the acting chief executive in January 2004 and kept looking.

The alliance -- whose members include the BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen -- has finally named a new CEO -- Fred Webber.

"During that search period, the members realized" that the qualities they were looking for were present in Webber, said alliance Vice President Gloria Bergquist . "He's right here and he's the right person."

He clearly has experience in the trade association world. Webber retired as CEO of the American Chemistry Council in late 2002. Earlier, he served as chief executive of the U.S. League of Savings Institutions, president of the National Soft Drink Association, executive vice president of the Edison Electric Institute and in posts at the Scott Paper Co. and National Forest Products Association.

Webber also worked in legislative posts in the Nixon and Ford administrations at Treasury, the White House and the Labor Department.

"So much for retirement," Webber said yesterday.

"The automobile industry is the economy. To represent such an industry is a thrill," he said.

The big legislative focus now, he said, is on the energy and highway bills.

New Lobby Firm Joins the Fray

John Guzik , Omar Nashashibi and Pete Rose have bolted Williams Mullen Strategies and formed their own lobby and consulting shop, the Franklin Partnership .

Guzik earlier was chief of staff to Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and deputy executive director of the National Republican Campaign Committee. Nashashibi worked at the Office of Management and Budget and the Institute for Public Accuracy. Rose was legislative director for Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) and former House member Pete Geren (D-Tex.).

The Franklin folks are also "partnered" with the law and lobbying firm of Oldaker, Biden and Belair .

"We were very entrepreneurial," Guzik said. "Our clients came to us because of who we were."


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