Deborah Hersman has stepped down as chair of the National Traffic Safety Board to head the National Safety Council, the NSC announced Wednesday.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an organization dedicated to saving lives and preventing injuries," Ms. Hersman said in a statement. She said the NSC "has the potential to improve every workplace, every community and the way we travel every day."
Ms. Herman will be joining the nonprofit NSC in Itasca, Ill., as its president and CEO, but will stay on at the NTSB until April 25 when Vice Chairman Christopher A. Hart will step in as acting chairman, according to an NTSB statement.
Ms. Herman has "a frontline understanding of the value of protecting human life through thoughtful attention and management of risk," Jeff Woodbury, chairman of the NSC's board of directors, said in a news release. He described her as "the ideal candidate to take the council successfully into its second century."
At the NTSB, Ms. Herman was on the scene for more than 20 major transportation accidents, including the Asiana Airlines jet crash at San Francisco International in July. She also chaired NTSB hearings and events, and regularly testified before Congress.
President Bush appointed her as a board member in 2004, and President Obama reappointed her to two additional five-year terms in 2009 and 2013.
A senior advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation from 1999-2004, she previously served as staff director for former U.S. Rep. Bob Wise (D.-W.Va.) from 1992-1999.
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