Cal Dooley, the former California congressman who has led the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for the past decade, has announced he will be stepping down at the end of the year.

During his time at the industry group, its federal advocacy boomed and ACC became one of the highest-spending trade groups in Washington.

Most recently, Dooley helped oversee the mammoth lobbying effort around a massive toxic chemical regulations overhaul in 2016 that had been championed for years by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

“I am extremely proud of what ACC has accomplished over the past 10 years, especially the passage of bipartisan chemical regulatory reform legislation. It has been a privilege to work with ACC’s dedicated staff and members to support the industry’s role as a driver of economic growth, enabler of the products and technologies that support modern life and a provider of solutions that will make a sustainable future possible,” Dooley said.

{mosads}The American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical and plastics manufacturers, spent almost $7.5 million on lobbying last year, but the six years before that all exceeded $9 million in annual advocacy spending. With Dooley at the helm, the group’s membership grew by almost 50 percent.

“Cal’s record of bipartisanship during his time in Congress and his reputation as a pragmatic, straight shooter who is committed to intellectual consistency, sound science and good policy has helped ACC become one of the most effective and successful trade associations in Washington,” said Bob Patel, the chief executive of LyondellBasell and chairman of ACC’s board.

When Dooley joined the ACC in 2008, the industry was suffering from reverberations of high gas prices and the economic recession. The group says that he came in and “implemented an integrated strategy comprised of aggressive federal and state advocacy, communications, coalition building, political engagement and new Association programs to address the challenges facing the chemical sector.”

At the end of 2018, Dooley’s contract is expiring and he says he will be stepping down. It’s unclear what his next steps will be.

“Cal has been the right leader at the right time for American chemistry,” Patel said.

Dooley, a Democrat, previously served for 14 years in the House of Representatives and represented California’s 17th and 20th congressional districts.

When he left in 2005, he became the chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

In 2008, when he made the move to the chemical industry group, he told McClatchy that ACC had “made me a very attractive offer.” 

The salary at the time — held then by Jack Gerard, who retires as CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API) later this year — was $2.1 million.

Dooley earned nearly $5 million in 2016, according to tax filings.

Both ACC and API are two of the most coveted industry association jobs in Washington, and are among the several executive vacancies that need to be filled this year.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Distilled Spirits Council and others are also searching for new leaders.

Updated April 30


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