New Chairman, Board Members Appointed to National Safety Council Board of Directors

New Chairman, Board Members Appointed to National Safety Council Board of Directors

John Surma receives the gavel and welcomes four new board members at the largest safety gathering in the U.S.

​Atlanta – The National Safety Council announces that John Surma, retired chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation, has been elected chairman of the NSC board of directors. Surma succeeds Jeff Woodbury, vice president of investor relations and secretary of the Exxon Mobil Corporation, and takes over as chairman on Sunday, Sept. 27, following the annual board of directors meeting.

The Council also welcomes four new board members to two-year terms:

  • Raymond T. Betler, president and CEO, Wabtec Corporation
  • Brian J. Cook, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, USG Corporation
  • Lynne Lachenmyer, vice president, ExxonMobil Corporation
  • Douglas C. Pontsler, vice president of EHS & Operations Sustainability, Owens Corning

"Jeff's vision and commitment to safety helped raise the bar for everyone at the National Safety Council," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO. "Jeff walked the talk of safety - epitomizing the very best of our volunteer leaders. His guidance helped us create a roadmap for addressing current and emerging safety issues." 

Woodbury's successor Surma retired from United States Steel in 2013. He began his career there in 2002 as vice chairman and chief financial officer, and was named president and chief executive officer in 2004 and chairman in February 2006. Before joining United States Steel, Surma was a partner at Price Waterhouse LLP and held senior management positions at Marathon Oil Company, Speedway SuperAmerica LLC and Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (MAP). Surma is a member of the board of directors of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, MPLX, Concho Resources, Inc., Ingersoll Rand and is the former Chairman of the Board at Penn State University. 

Surma was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. In 1983, Surma participated in the President's Executive Exchange Program in Washington, D.C., where he served as executive staff assistant to the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.  Today, he is Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

"I look forward to working with John, whose genuine leadership and passion for our mission will advance our efforts to make our world safer," Hersman said. "John's knowledge, experience and dedication to our non-profit purpose will provide valuable direction as we work to save lives and prevent injuries." 

Betler is the president and CEO of Wabtec Corporation and also serves on the company's Board of Directors. Betler started his career as a design engineer for Westinghouse, and he became the youngest President and CEO in the 120-year history of the company. He served with the same company under different ownership and corporate structures for 30 years. Betler joined Wabtec in 2008 and was promoted to president and CEO in 2014.

Cook is senior vice president and chief administrative officer of USG Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its subsidiaries, United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors, Inc., USG International, and L&W Supply Corporation. Cook is responsible for the Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Corporate Marketing functions as well as Corporate Services including Occupational Safety and Health, Business Continuity, Fleet Operations, Facilities, and Travel.

Lachenmyer is vice president, ExxonMobil Corporation, Dallas, Texas. In this position, she manages Safety, Security, Health and Environment for the corporation. Lachenmyer joined Mobil Oil Corporation in 1980. She worked for 11 years in refining positions that provided experience in the technical, manufacturing operations, planning and environmental arenas. In 2007, she became vice president of Operations, ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties Company, and in 2010 became senior vice president of ExxonMobil Chemical's global Marketing, Basic Chemicals, Intermediates and Synthetics businesses. She was appointed to her current position in September 2014.

Pontsler is vice president of EHS & Operations Sustainability for Owens Corning. He was named to his current position in August 2009. In this leadership role, he has responsibility for directing safety and environmental matters within Owens Corning globally. His role was expanded in October 2011 to include responsibility for foundational compliance and sustainability operations performance. Mr. Pontsler joined Owens Corning in 2002 as Director of Corporate Services, was named Director of Global Sourcing in 2004 and Vice President of Global Sourcing in 2008. Mr. Pontsler also serves as a steering committee member of the National Safety Council Campbell Institute and chairs the World Class Team sub-committee.


About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council,, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities. Safety+Health magazine, the Council's flagship publication, is a leading source of occupational safety and health information.

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