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Durbin to lead U.S. Chamber’s energy policy arm

Former API executive has also led association representing natural gas producers


August 23, 2019
By Walt Williams
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has tapped former American Petroleum Institute executive Marty Durbin to lead its Global Energy Institute, where he will oversee the business group’s advocacy efforts on energy policy.

Durbin has been hired as president of GEI, the Chamber announced Friday. He most recently was executive vice president and chief strategy officer at API but stepped down in January, telling CEO Update at the time he decided to depart to explore other opportunities. His exit from API came only a few months after the arrival of new CEO Mike Sommers, with Durbin saying he wanted to give Sommers a chance to form his own leadership team. (Sommers congratulated Durbin on Twitter Thursday for his hiring by the Chamber.)

Durbin first joined API in 2009 from the American Chemistry Council, where he was a lobbyist. He worked at the oil industry group until 2013 when he left to run America’s Natural Gas Alliance. That group merged with API in 2016, and Durbin rejoined the association as one of its top advocacy staff.

In joining GEI, the former lobbyist succeeds Karen Harbert, who stepped down earlier this year to become CEO of the American Gas Association. The institute oversees the Chamber’s advocacy on energy issues, which has put in the crosshairs of environmentalists. One recent example: GEI recently praised the Trump administration’s proposed changes to enforcement to the Endangered Species Act, which has come under fire from many environmental activists and Democrats.

Durbin “brings decades of excellent judgment and leadership on energy and environmental issues at a critical time for our nation, and he will join our executive team to advocate for public policies that are good for the health of our environment, our economy, our nation, and our members,” Chamber CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement.

Durbin’s take-home pay at API was more than $1.9 million in 2017, according its most recent tax records. Harbert earned roughly $1.2 million during the same time period at the Chamber.

Korn Ferry assisted in the GEI search. 

Durbin is not the only new hire at GEI. The institute announced in July that former White House staffer Chad Whiteman had joined as vice president of environment and regulatory affairs. Meanwhile, Harbert has hired Sue Forrester, previously managing director at GEI, as AGA’s vice president of advocacy and outreach.   

Note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Chad Whiteman's name and his position in the White House.