WASHINGTON -- Fred Webber is getting the "interim" removed from his title as president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
The organization represents the Big 3 and six import-brand car companies. It asked Webber in early 2004 to lead the group while it searched for a permanent successor to former President Josephine Cooper.
But the group's executive committee concluded that "the person we're looking for is right here," Alliance Vice President Gloria Bergquist said Monday. The association's board ratified the decision, she said.
The multiyear contract became effective June 1, she added. She declined to disclose the length of Webber's contract or his salary.
Cooper became the founding president of the organization in 1999. But executives of some member companies decided in late 2002 or early 2003 that the automakers' group needed a high-profile, big-name leader in the nation's capital.
The alliance began a search that ultimately bogged down. Cooper took the top Washington job with Toyota Motor North America Inc. Webber came out of retirement to serve on an interim basis.
Webber, 67, is a veteran of the Washington scene. He served in the Nixon White House and with trade associations that represent savings and loans associations and the chemical industry.
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