The hierarchy of the nation's largest business group is starting to have an 18-wheel feel to it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it had named John Ruan III, chairman and CEO of Des Moines, Iowa-based Ruan Transport Corp., to the post of vice chairman for 2010. With the appointment, Ruan is now in line to succeed current Chamber chairman Thomas D. Bell Jr. when Bell's term expires next June.
Ruan is also expected to work closely with Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, who joined the group after holding the top job at the American Trucking Associations.
Unlike other trade groups where chairman or vice chairman posts are considered mostly ceremonial, the chairmanship at the Chamber is seen as having a substantial role in shaping—in concert with the formidable Donohue—the association's positions in the many areas that affect its 3 million members.
An official outside the Chamber, who asked not to be identified, said Ruan's appointment is "likely to keep transportation and infrastructure issues on the front burner" at the group.
"John Ruan's selection as vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce speaks to his leadership ability and the respect he commands from his peers," American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said in a statement. "It is a tremendous honor for the trucking industry to have one of our leaders in line to become chairman of the leading business organization and lobby in the nation."