Webber named Auto Manufacturers head

Looking for a big-name CEO, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers instead chose a familiar face.

Fred Webber, who has served as the interim head since Josephine Cooper stepped down in December 2003, will be named the official CEO of the group, which represents eight domestic and foreign automakers on safety and environmental issues.

Webber has helped run four trade groups in town, including the American Chemistry Council, and served in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

The alliance reportedly once was eyeing top administration officials and retiring lawmakers such as Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) to increase its profile. Breaux sent word that he was not interested in the job. He ended up at Patton Boggs.

One person said member companies are convinced Webber is the “right person at the right time” because of his “strong relationships in both parties.”

Jim Snyder