The United Auto Workers on Monday chose a key finance official to take over as the union’s president until the next scheduled leadership election in June 2022.
Ray Currie, 55, the union’s secretary-treasurer, was named to the top position by the union’s board and will become president July 1. He will succeed Rory L. Gamble, who announced his retirement last week.
As secretary-treasurer, Mr. Currie helped put in place financial and ethics reforms after a series of corruption scandals that led to guilty pleas by two former U.A.W. presidents, a dozen other union officials and three Fiat Chrysler executives.
“I pledge to continue to build upon our commitment to a culture of transparency, reforms and checks and balances,” Mr. Currie said in a statement.
He will take over a union whose members won wage increases in 2019 contract talks and have enjoyed hefty profit-sharing bonuses from General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, which is now part of Stellantis after its merger with the French automaker Peugeot.
But the U.A.W. also faces many challenges as automakers shift to production of electric vehicles, which have fewer parts and require fewer factory workers to produce than internal-combustion vehicles.
The “industry is at a crossroads right now with massive changes in new innovative technologies,” Mr. Currie said. “It will be up to us to navigate through this monumental shift in mobility and manufacturing.”
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Mr. Currie joined the U.A.W. when he was hired as an assembler at Freightliner Trucks. He moved to the U.A.W. staff in 2004, and later headed the union’s Region 8, a broad swath of mostly Southern states stretching from Virginia to California.
He was elected secretary-treasurer in 2018 in the midst of a federal corruption investigation. A year later, when the investigation targeted the union president at that time, Gary Jones, Mr. Gamble was named acting president.
Under Mr. Gamble, the union cooperated with the prosecutors, instituted new anti-corruption measures, and avoided being put under federal control.
Mr. Jones was recently sentenced to 28 months in prison. His predecessor, Dennis Williams, received a 21-month sentence. Both had been charged with using union funds for personal travel, cigars, liquor and other luxuries.