Some safety advocates in the US are expressing concerns over the possibility that President Donald Trump could select an automotive industry insider as the new head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Former Administrator Mark Rosekind, who was appointed by Barack Obama, left the post when Trump took office in January.
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety President Rosemary Shahan fears that the appointment of someone from the ranks of US automotive executives might be likely given Trump’s apparent tendency to appoint business executives to administrative roles. For instance, The Detroit News points to the selection of former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, investor Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon as Small Business Administrator.
President Trump has also selected numerous Goldman Sachs alumni for various leadership roles, and before settling on Rex Tillerson for the job, reportedly considered tapping former Ford CEO Alan Mulally to be his Secretary of State.
“[Trump] has a penchant of appointing people who have been regulated and allowing them to dismantle agencies,” Ms. Shahan says. “You have all these companies who have been under investigations for safety violations recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if he appointed somebody from one of them. It would be consistent with his other appointments.”
Joan Claybrook – former President of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator under Jimmy Carter – says: “If he appoints someone from the auto industry, there is going to be a lot of concern on the Hill and among groups like ours… That’s a real conflict of interest. You need someone who is more even-minded about what needs to be done.”
While no names seem to be circulating among insiders currently, Rosemary Shahan has speculated on one potential Traffic Safety Administrator nominee: General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
(Source: The Detroit News)