The company did not say where Simpson has previously worked, but Orf said he was hired from outside Patriot.
The revelations about questionable safety inspections at Federal No. 2 came just months before the April 5 explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch mine, a Massey Energy Co. operation in Southern West Virginia.
Although the official cause of that blast has yet to be determined, investigators have said they suspect a combination of highly explosive methane and coal dust.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration included Federal No. 2 among the 57 coal mines nationwide that it targeted in an inspection blitz after the Upper Big Branch explosion. Inspectors fanned out to look for problems at mines with bad track records or known risks, such as high levels of methane gas.
By mid-August, MSHA inspectors had issued more than 400 citations for alleged violations at Federal -- a 66 percent increase over the same period last year.
The number of more serious violations nearly tripled, from 58 in 2009 to 161 this year. So-called significant and substantial violations typically carry higher fines and raise greater concerns among regulators.
But the industry is not experiencing a similar increase: MSHA records show the number of citations issued to underground coal mines nationally dipped to 46,017 through July, compared with 48,744 during the first seven months of 2009.
AP writer Tim Huber contributed to this report from Charleston.