February 12, 2009
Connaughton joins ABS
Sean T. Connaughton, who stepped down as U.S. Maritime Administrator with the recent change of Administration, is joining classification society ABS as Corporate Vice President for Government Affairs, effective February 17.
In this newly created position, Connaughton will act as the society's primary liaison with national governments at senior levels, establishing and maintaining close working relationships with the principal executive and legislative bodies that influence maritime policy as it relates to safety and classification issues.
"Governments are playing an increasingly important role in our activities," said ABS Chairman and CEO Robert D. Somerville. "Legislative actions can affect the terms of reference under which we operate, as is currently the case with the new EC Directive and Regulation for Recognized Organizations. And governments are also important clients. We provide classification services for naval, military and other specialist government vessels and see promising opportunities to expand these relationships in the future."
"Having someone with Sean's intimate knowledge of government operations, diplomatic and legislative skills and experience, and close contacts with the maritime administrations of other nations from his time as the U.S. Maritime Administrator, will greatly strengthen our ability to work with governments as partners and clients," Somerville added.
Connaughton is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.. He has served the U.S. Coast Guard as both a commissioned officer and as a civil servant in the Office of Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection. After gaining a Master's degree, he joined the American Petroleum Institute, representing companies involved in the energy and marine transportation industries, during which time he also gained a law degree from George Mason University.
As a lawyer, in private practice and in six years in the transportation practice of Troutman Sanders LLP, he has specialized in maritime and international law and has appeared before the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Virginia Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, and the Maritime Law Association. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College.
Connaughton has been involved in local government as an elected official and, prior to his appointment as Maritime Administrator in 2006, served on numerous regional boards and commissions, including the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
He is also the recipient of numerous maritime and civic awards.
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.