Mary Barra Could Lead the NHTSA, Maybe

It’s thought President Trump could tap an auto exec to take the National Highway Traffic Safety administrator position, unfilled since the White House changed teams in January. 

Advocacy groups worry that turning over the kingdom’s keys to someone currently entrenched in the industry could lead to widespread deregulation, benefitting the corporations, not the consumers who buy their cars.

According to insiders, names haven’t even begun circulating in hushed Washington circles, but could that candidate be GM’s CEO Mary Barra?

Rosemary Shahan, president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group, told The Detroit News she definitely thinks Mrs. Mary could be a favorite to head up the regulatory agency.

“You have all these companies who have been under investigations for safety violations recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if he appointed somebody from one of them. It would be consistent with his other appointments.”

Shahan noted Barra’s role on Strategic and Policy Forums advising the President on a range of economic issues.

“He seems to be very friendly with her.”

Barra has also met with Donald Trump at least twice during the first 100-days of his reign, so there’s that.

NHTSA has traditionally been one of the last agencies to get an appointed boss; for example, Obama took 11 months to pick a name, Bush took 5, while Bill Clinton took over a year to choose.

At this point, it’s unclear if Barra even wants a regulatory role, and GM was as unwilling to comment as one would imagine a public company should be regarding the potential departure of its CEO.

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