Rodney Slater, a partner at Patton Boggs and a former U.S. transportation secretary, will join a "blue ribbon panel" advising Toyota on safety, a company executive said today.
The panel will evaluate the automaker's quality controls and ensure that they "conform to best industry practices," said Yoshimi Inaba, president of Toyota North America. Inaba was testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the company’s safety problems.
Inaba said that Slater will help lead the panel, though he did not elaborate on what Slater’s role will be. The panel is part of Toyota’s attempts to reassure the public after two recalls related to unexpected acceleration in some of its models.
Slater served as transportation secretary during President Bill Clinton’s second term, and he works in Patton Boggs’ lobbying practice as well as its transportation and infrastructure practice. Lobbying registration records show that his clients have included many aviation interests, including airports in Atlanta and Little Rock. He’s also lobbied on fuel economy standards for Cerberus Capital Management.