Greg Lebedev will leave the top spot at the American Chemistry Council on June 1, and he will be replaced by Thomas Reilly, a retired chemical industry executive and former ACC chairman.
Reilly, retired chairman of Indianapolis-based Reilly Industries Inc., will become president and chief executive officer of Arlington-based ACC, the trade group that includes the American Plastics Council.
``Both our industry and our trade association have been through tumultuous change during the past few years. Tom is the type of person we need to guide us forward with a strong, steady hand,'' said ACC Chairman Raj Gupta, who also is chairman and CEO of Rohm & Haas Co.
Reilly has more than 40 years' experience in the chemical industry, according to ACC. He served as chairman of Reilly Industries from 1990 until his retirement in 2003.
Lebedev joined ACC in 2002, coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he had been chief operating officer and executive vice president. He had replaced Fred Webber.
ACC has been suffering from budget woes in recent months, the result of declining membership and a weak economy. Last year several major chemical companies resigned from the group, including Lyondell Chemical Co. and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP.
At the time, those companies questioned whether ACC was leading the chemical industry effectively, and Lyondell voiced unhappiness with how ACC's merger with APC had worked out.
More recently, ACC earlier this month said it would slash APC's advertising spending by almost 50 percent this year as it prepares to integrate its ads into a larger campaign to boost the faltering image of the chemical industry.
Other key issues currently before the chemical industry include dealing with natural gas prices, which are near historical highs, and chemical plant security, an issue in the limelight in the presidential election campaign because of threats from terrorists.
Reilly has agreed to lead ACC until a permanent replacement is recruited and a smooth transition of responsibilities is completed, according to a news release from the trade group.
Reilly, 64, had led industry lobbying efforts in 2001-02 for a national energy plan.