Sometimes the revolving door between regulators and the regulated spins slowly.
John Snow was the nation's top automotive regulator 30 years ago. Now he's chairman of the private equity company that is acquiring the Chrysler group.
Snow's stay as head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was brief. President Gerald Ford nominated him in June 1976, and he left in February 1977. He went on to run CSX Corp. and to serve as President George W. Bush's Treasury secretary.
The '70s were heady times at NHTSA. One of Snow's duties was to get the corporate average fuel economy program up and running. Clarence Ditlow, director then and now of the Center for Auto Safety, said Snow had lackluster credentials but "recognized that you could have safe and fuel-efficient vehicles."
And there's new sniping about Snow's qualifications as chairman of Chrysler's new parent, Cerberus Capital Management LP. Steven Pearlstein, a business columnist at The Washington Post, last week called Snow "a figurehead" who at the Chrysler announcement ceremony "mouthed mindless platitudes the way he did as Treasury secretary."