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Gerard Moving to API

A tightly guarded quest to fill the American Petroleum Institute’s top slot is over.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Chemistry Council, has accepted the job at API, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. Gerard is set to replace API head Red Cavaney, an institution in Washington, D.C., lobbying circles, at a critical time for the petroleum industry.

An ACC spokeswoman said Gerard was unavailable and that the group would not comment until he could be reached. Gerard was expected to announce his new job Wednesday at an ACC board meeting in California.

API flatly denied the changeover.

“Red Cavaney has no plans to be leaving API,” said Ray Connolly, a spokesman for API. “There is no impending change. There are no plans here or any intention of changing.”

Still, Connolly acknowledged that API has a “succession planning process” for senior management that has been under way for more than four years.

“It’s to look ahead in terms of potential” departures, Connolly said. “Obviously people are going to leave from time to time.”

But sources familiar with the situation said Cavaney is likely to exit API by this fall.

In their current roles, both Cavaney and Gerard work on similar issues, particularly legislation on global warming, energy and environmental policy. API spent $1.27 million during the first quarter of 2008 on lobbying compared with ACC’s $770,000.

Gerard’s 2007 compensation package, however, was about half a million dollars more than Cavaney’s. According to National Journal’s biannual association report, Gerard pulled in $2.2 million while Cavaney earned $1.7 million.

The move is considered a big step up for Gerard, according to several energy lobbyists.

“He has become one of these people to go to when a shake-up or a reformulation of an association is in need of kick-starting,” an energy lobbyist said.

Gerard, who has been president and CEO of the chemistry group since July 2005, was brought on board to stir up the organization. As part of that effort, he reorganized the group, cutting more than 40 positions, and embarked on a high-profile advertising campaign.

An Idaho native, Gerard honed his political skills in the environmental realm as a legislative director for former Republican Sen. Jim McClure (Idaho), who was the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He later opened a lobbying firm with McClure and McClure’s chief of staff, Tod Neuenschwander, in 1991.

Prior to joining ACC, Gerard headed the National Mining Association, where he helped expand the group’s grass-roots activities.

Cavaney, according to an online bio, joined API in 1997 and has long been a fixture in the Washington association world. He had previously been president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association and of the American Plastics Council.

Cavaney was deputy assistant to the president for public liaison in the Reagan White House, where, according to the bio, he helped put together private-sector coalitions to support Reagan’s legislative goals.

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