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Deborah Hersman quits NTSB for National Safety Council

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board is leaving to lead the National Safety Council, it was announced Tuesday.

Deborah A.P. Hersman announced her departure after nearly 10 years at the agency and said she was moving on to what she called another dream job at the council. She will continue at the NTSB until April 25 when vice chairman Christopher A. Hart will take over on an interim basis, the agency announced.

"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 written statement.

The council was founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress. It is a nonprofit whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through research, education and advocacy.

“Debbie is a recognized leader in safety, with a front-line understanding of the value of protecting human life through thoughtful attention and management of risk,” said Jeff Woodbury, chairman of the council's board of directors. “Her proven leadership and expertise made her the ideal candidate to take the council successfully into its second century.”

Hersman was on the scene for more than 20 accident investigations, including the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco last July. Besides studying crashes, the board makes safety recommendations.

Before her appointment to the board in 2004, Hersman served for five years on the staff of the Senate Transportation Committee. Earlier, she served as a staffer for a House member from her native West Virginia.

President Obama considered Hersman to become Transportation secretary but decided instead to give the post to former Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx.

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