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U.S. NTSB chief Hersman to step down, join safety group

Source: Reuters - Tue, 11 Mar 2014 16:42 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details from Herman's blog, background on NTSB and NSC)

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said on Tuesday she is leaving what she called her "dream job" to lead a safety advocacy group.

Hersman, 43, will become president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the group said in a statement.

Christopher Hart, the board's vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman when Hersman leaves on April 25, the NTSB said.

The NTSB investigates all types of transportation accidents, but is perhaps best known for its probes of air crashes. This week, the NTSB sent a team of investigators to Malaysia to help search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

It was the lead agency investigating the battery problem that grounded Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner aircraft for several weeks in early 2013, and the crash of an Asiana Airlines Inc. jet in San Francisco in July.

Hersman was named as a board member of the NTSB in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was appointed chairwoman in 2009 by President Barack Obama.

"I look back at the hundreds of investigations and recommendations that have been issued during my tenure at the NTSB and I have seen the landscape of transportation safety improve before my eyes," Hersman said in a blog post titled "It's been a great ride."

The National Safety Council, a non-profit organization chartered by Congress, seeks to use education and research to prevent accidental injury and death from incidents ranging from distracted driving to workplace safety to prescription drug overdoses. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Ros Krasny and Bill Trott)

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