Huber, 57, is considered a reformer and a modernizer, based on his open style of communication and success at reaching unconventional solutions. He is also a member of the Social Democrats, which form half of Germany's governing coalition.
IG Metall represents a broad range of workers in the nation's key manufacturing sector in wage talks with employers. It has 2.3 million members.
Earlier this year, it secured a pay increase of 4.1 percent this year and another 1.7 percent next year for manufacturing workers. It went into talks demanding a 6.5 percent raise.
Detlef Wetzel, the regional union head in North Rhine-Westphalia state, which includes the industrial Ruhr region, was elected Tuesday as Huber's deputy. The 54-year-old also is viewed as a moderate.