William E. Wright Named CSB Interim Executive

William E. Wright, a member of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), has been named Interim Executive and Administrative Authority of the agency following the departure of Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt, whose five-year term expired yesterday.

Wright will serve in this capacity pending Senate action on the presidential nomination of John S. Bresland to succeed Ms. Merritt as Chairman of the CSB, which is anticipated sometime this fall. Bresland's five-year term also expired yesterday and, under governing statutes, CSB board members may not continue to serve until their nominations for new terms are confirmed by the Senate.

The delegation of executive authority was approved in a formal vote by the current board of three: Gary L. Visscher, William B. Wark, and Wright. In a memo to the CSB staff, Wright said today, "I am delighted to serve in this capacity and welcome the opportunity to become a key member of the CSB leadership team." He added, "I hope my tenure is short lived, as we all anxiously await John Bresland's return to the board in the position of chairman. I know the CSB will continue to excel at promoting prevention of accidents within the chemical industry and strive for excellence in all that we do here."

Wright was appointed by the president to a five year term on the board on Sept. 22, 2006. Prior to his appointment, he served for five years as Chairman of the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board. During this period, he worked closely with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment Safety and Occupational Health and with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to safely eliminate various chemical stockpiles. He also worked with Service Secretaries to ensure a strong explosives safety program for the Department of Defense.

Wright served with distinction in the Navy's Special Operations Explosive Ordnance Disposal community including a major command tour as Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group ONE. He has also been responsible for dealing with hazards ranging from civil war ordnance to chemical and nuclear incidents. Earlier in his career, he also served as Head of Ordnance for the Chief of Naval Operations. He retired as a Captain after having served 30 years in the United States Navy.

Wright earned his bachelor's degree and master's of business administration degree from the University of Puget Sound. He also earned a master of arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

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