The UAW's International Executive Board on Thursday appointed Rory Gamble to fill the remaining 30 months of Gary Jones' term as president on a permanent basis.
Gamble, 64, became acting president in early November, when Jones took a leave of absence after becoming implicated in a federal corruption probe of the union. Jones resigned Nov. 20 after the executive board began an effort to unseat and expel him.
Gamble will serve until the union's June 2022 convention. He is limited by the UAW's officer age restrictions from running for reelection.
Gamble becomes the union's first African American president.
"This is an honor to complete my career and serve the members of this great union in this capacity," he said in a statement. "This wasn't planned and it is a tall order. There are difficult decisions that will need to be made in the coming months for our members. But I promise one thing, when I retire and turn over this office, we will deliver a clean union on solid footing."
Gamble previously served as vice president of the UAW-Ford department and spent 12 years as director of Region 1A. The union's IEB will choose his successor as vice president of the UAW-Ford department next month.
The union must also fill a vacancy in Region 5 after former Region 5 chief Vance Pearson resigned last month after the union planned to bring charges against him, along with Jones. Pearson has been charged by federal prosecutors with misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds on personal indulgences such as vacations, golf clubs, extravagant meals, cigars and expensive bottles of champagne. He was also charged with mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. He resigned from the union late last month.
According to the union's constitution, regional director vacancies are filled by the delegates elected by members within that region. Region 5 will call a delegate meeting in the coming weeks to fill that vacancy, the union said.
Gamble faces a steep task restoring credibility to a labor organization rocked by scandal. Prosecutors have brought charges against 13 people and 11 have pleaded guilty. Since being named acting president, Gamble has vowed to reform the union from within to avoid the possibility of a federal takeover if prosecutors file racketeering charges.
Gamble earlier this week announced a number of financial reforms to prevent the misuse of funds.
“Together, our members, local leaders and our board have an opportunity to set the UAW on a course for generations,” Gamble said. “There are many opportunities through new technology; new jobs; new organizing drives and collective bargaining gains to lift up our families, our communities and the middle class. We are in this together as we work through these changes and challenges."