Obama’s former ‘auto czar’ named WMU president

In this June 2009 AP file image, then-White House Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Ed Montgomery prepares to testify on Capitol Hill. Montgomery has been chosen to be the next president of Western Michigan University.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who served as President Barack Obama’s “auto czar” will soon lead Western Michigan University.

Dr. Edward B. Montgomery will become WMU’s ninth president on Aug. 1, the school announced Wednesday. Under a five-year contract, Montgomery will have an annual salary of $450,000 with a deferred compensation/retirement package worth an additional $50,000 per year.

Montgomery played key roles in the Clinton and Obama administrations. During President Obama’s term, Montgomery took on the informal title of auto czar, serving as a member of the auto task force and leading the White House Council for Auto Communities and Workers.

Montgomery previously served as chief economist, counselor, assistant secretary and deputy secretary to the U.S. Department of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

WMU president, Ed Montgomery, President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama, flanked by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, and former Deputy Labor Secretary Ed Montgomery, makes remarks on the American Automotive Industry, Monday. March 30, 2009, in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington.

Montgomery said his wife, Kari is from Portland and she was anxious to come back to West Michigan. His son, Edward, is also a senior at WMU’s business college. He also has two other children – Lindsay and Elizabeth.

>>VIDEO: Watch Dr. Montgomery’s first news conference here.

Montgomery has served at Georgetown University since 2010, according to WMU. He is currently dean and a professor of economics at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Montgomery also held faculty positions at Michigan State University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.

He was unanimously chosen by the WMU Board of Trustees during a special meeting Wednesday, following a monthslong national search to replace longtime president Dr. John M. Dunn.

Dunn initially planned to retire on June 30, but will stay on as WMU president through July 31.