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Weber to take FCAI reins

High calibre: Tony Weber was chosen from more than 75 high-calibre applicants for the top job at the Australian motor industry’s peak representative body.

Top bureaucrat Tony Weber named incoming FCAI CEO after three-month search

10 Aug 2012

THE Australian automotive industry’s peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), has appointed Tony Weber as its chief executive.

A senior Canberra bureaucrat with strong links to the department of industry and innovation, which is central to Australian motor vehicle manufacturing, Mr Weber will take up the position on September 10.

His appointment follows a three-month search for a new CEO that was instituted when Ian Chalmers resigned suddenly in May for personal reasons.

Mr Chalmers had been in the position for only eight months after being recruited over a similar timeframe to replace Andrew McKellar, who left the FCAI in May last year to head up the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

Mr Weber is acting head of the innovation division of the federal department of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education (DIISRTE).

He has held a number of senior positions in this department and in various others in Canberra, and has been a member of several key taskforces including the Productivity Commission.

Mr Weber has worked alongside government ministers, including industry, innovation, climate change and energy efficiency minister Greg Combet, and former industry and innovation minister Kim Carr.

 center imageFrom top: Former FCAI CEO Ian Chalmers and Andrew McKellar FCAI chairman Bob Graziano.

He was also a key figure in a survey and subsequent report of Australian motor vehicle producers produced in 2000 by the automotive group of the federal department of industry, science and resources.

FCAI executive officer Paula Matthewson told GoAuto that “there was strong interest in the position with in excess of 75 high-calibre candidates responding to the advertisement”.

“Members of the FCAI board worked with (recruitment firm) Courland International to identify and interview a shortlist of candidates who possessed the wide range of skills necessary to fulfil the duties of this important position,” she said.

FCAI chairman Bob Graziano, who is also president and CEO of Ford Australia, said: “We are delighted Tony has decided to join the FCAI team to continue the chamber’s work in building constructive and productive relationships with governments, industry and other stakeholders.

“We congratulate Tony on his appointment and we look forward to Tony working with our members to grow the automotive sector and ensure local manufacturing remains viable in Australia.”

The FCAI is responsible for setting industry-wide policy, along with industry’s relations with governments, particularly at a federal level.

Mr Chalmers had been dealing with federal officials and ministers on a wide range of issues, including mandatory CO2 levels foreshadowed by the current government that are proposed to commence in 2015.

He had also been working with the federal infrastructure and transport department on a revised Green Vehicle Guide (GVG), but since his departure a discussion paper on proposed changes to the guide – the primary tool for car buyers to assess the environmental impact of vehicles – has been issued, calling for comment from interested parties before the end of September.

As GoAuto reported earlier this week, this short timeframe has left the FCAI with only two months to fully digest the implications of the proposed changes to the GVG and make any recommendations before the revised guide comes into effect on January 1 next year.

Asked if Mr Weber would be in a position to steer the motor industry’s response to the discussion paper before the September 30 deadline, Ms Matthewson said the industry body had been working with the department “over an extended period” to provide input on a revised GVG.

“This project has been capably led by the FCAI’s policy director Phil Allan, who will ensure the automotive industry’s position in response to the discussion paper is submitted by the due date,” she said.

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