Canton Repository

July 20, 2005

Timken chairman to be Bush pick for ambassador to Germany

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — President Bush is nominating W.R. “Tim” Timken Jr., chairman of the Canton-based Timken Co. and a key financial backer of the president, to be the next ambassador to Germany.

The White House announced Tuesday that Bush intends to make the nomination, which requires Senate approval.

Timken was reported to be traveling and unavailable to comment. The White House has asked him not to discuss the nomination until he is confirmed in accord with administration policy.

A descendant of German immigrants, Timken, 66, fulfills the profile of many nominees to ambassadorships as a well-known businessman and a major financial contributor to the president.

He would succeed the former ambassador to Germany, Daniel R. Coats, who left the post in February. Unlike Coats, a former senator and congressman from Indiana, Timken has never held elected office.

If he wins confirmation, Timken would be required to step down as chairman of the board at Timken, a worldwide manufacturer of tapered bearings and specialty steel founded by his great-grandfather, Henry Timken. Timken formerly served as CEO of the company, which had $4.5 billion in sales last year. The company has a plant and several offices in Germany.

“He’ll be a great ambassador for us,” said Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township. Regula said Timken has a “feel for international matters” as a result of the company’s presence throughout the world. “He’s lived in the community his entire life. Canton’s probably a microcosm of America, so he’s had an understanding of what makes this country tick.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, praised Timken as “not only a successful businessman but a great civic leader.” Voinovich, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added that Timken “has great interpersonal skills and will do an outstanding job.”

The Foreign Relations Committee would hold a hearing on Timken’s nomination in September at the earliest, according to a spokesman. A vote could come in the Senate in September or October.

Timken has served as part-time chairman of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., an organization Congress created to promote investor confidence in the securities industry, since 2003. He won quick Senate confirmation for that post.

He also previously served as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. Timken retired from the board of directors at North Canton-based Diebold at the end of June.

A longtime supporter of Republicans at the local, state and national levels, Timken has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and party organizations.

He won designation as a “Ranger” for raising more than $200,000 for the Bush campaign in 2004. Timken hosted Bush at the company’s research facility in Jackson Township in April 2003.

Timken earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and received a master’s in business administration from Harvard.