US: NHTSA’s boss Strickland to join law firm image

National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland will join law firm Venable LLP later this month, joining the firm’s regulatory group, according to the law firm.

Strickland, 45, oversaw investigations into millions of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles and helped broker a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards by 2025 — headed the agency that oversees vehicle safety standards, recalls, fuel economy regulations and other vehicle regulatory issues.

Strickland, who has been the top U.S. auto regulator since 2010, will now be working for the law firm that represents many major automakers on a variety of regulatory matters — including some before NHTSA.

Several auto industry officials learned of Strickland’s appointment last week, but NHTSA and Venable wouldn’t confirm the announcement until now.

“An advocate for public safety on the roads, David has impressed the industry with his accomplishments,” said Brock R. Landry, co-chair of Venable’s Government Division. “He will play a key role in the ongoing growth of our Government Affairs, Automotive, and Technology practices.”

David Friedman will be acting administrator after Strickland leaves. Earlier this year, Friedman — former deputy director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists — was named NHTSA’s deputy director. Friedman often tussled with Detroit’s Big Three over fuel standards at UCS.