AKRON (May 27) — The United Steelworkers union finally has submitted a name for consideration as the newest member of the board of directors at Goodyear.
The union nominated Michael R. Wessel, a Washington attorney and public affairs consultant with strong ties to Capitol Hill, particularly former House leader and presidential candidate Richard Gephardt. Wessel's name was given to Goodyear via a May 11 letter from USW President Leo Gerard to Robert Keegan, the company's president, chairman and CEO.
As part of the 2003 master contract settlement between the union—then the United Steelworkers of America—and Goodyear, the USWA was given a board of directors seat. The union believes it has found its representative in Wessel, whom Gerard called a "prominent and talented individual who is willing to serve and will do an outstanding job in this role."
In a May 26 statement, Goodyear said it had received Gerard's nomination letter. "In accordance with Ohio law, New York Stock Exchange regulations and Goodyear´s corporate governance guidelines, Goodyear has begun the process of reviewing Mr. Wessel's candidacy for the board," the company said.
"The Governance Committee of Goodyear´s board of directors has the primary responsibility of nominating potential board members to the full board for consideration. That process requires Mr. Wessel to meet with a number of Goodyear directors prior to action by the Governance Committee and the board."
"There is no set timetable for this process, but Goodyear will move as expeditiously as reasonably possible."
If approved, Wessel would be the company's 12th board member.
Wessel, 46, is a senior vice president with the Downey McGrath Group Inc., a consulting firm offering expertise in government, politics and international affairs, according to a career summary supplied by the USW.
In the 2004 presidential race, Wessel served as co-chair of the trade policy for Democratic Party nominee John Kerry's campaign, and prior to that was the senior policy advisor for Gephardt's campaign. Wessel served in a number of positions over 20 years working for the Democrat congressman from Missouri, including general counsel, policy director, legislative director and staff assistant.