Maccabeus Top AutoMobility Stories – August 2022

  • CEO David Smith named chairman of Sonic Auto; former CEO Scott Smith returns to board
  • EV truck maker Nikola to buy battery supplier Romeo Power
  • Pepper Wilson Joins AASA as Marketing Manager
  • NUCAP Brake Components Names VP of Business Development
  • Honeywell Appoints Vimal Kapur President and COO
  • REV Group Names New SVP, Chief Information Officer
  • ACC Announces Leadership Team for 2022-2023
  • Fontaine Modification Taps Jennifer Sweet
  • Center for Automotive Research Announces New CEO
  • EV maker Nikola names Michael Lohscheller as its next CEO
  • Online used-car retailer Shift Technologies plans merger with CarLotz
  • Martin Winter Joins ZC Rubber Europe Technical Center
  • Allison Transmission Announces Board Changes
  • GMB Names Doug Hightower VP of NA Aftermarket Division
  • Mullen Taps Andre Hudson as VP of Design
  • Tom Glaser Joins Bartec USA
  • Clif Armstrong Named Dir. of Comm. Sales for TBC Brands
  • Canada’s Unifor union elects Lana Payne president
  • NPR HQ Management Team Taps James Tagai
  • MotoRad Names Matt Buchholz CEO
  • Speedway Motorsports Names 2 to New Leadership Positions
  • RealTruck Hires Tom Luttrell as 1st Chief Information Officer
  • S&P Global Mobility Names Mark Rechtin Executive Editor
  • Alltech Automotive Names Richard Odom VP of Sales & Marketing
  • ATD Expands Leadership Team
  • Donna Wagner Named Assistant VP of ASE Education Foundation
  • Torc Robotics names new CEO from Daimler’s autonomous technology group
  • Hyundai Mobis aims to separate key auto businesses into new units
  • ZC Rubber Europe Appoints Ákos Barcsik New Deputy GM
  • ABC Technologies Announces Leadership Succession
  • Hyzon Motors Announces Leadership Transition
  • Apex Tool Group Announces Pete Dyke as SVP, Chief HR Officer
  • Wade Kawasaki Named Exec. Director of SEMA, PRI PACs
  • Group 1 CEO Hesterberg to retire at year’s end; U.S. chief Kenningham named to top post
  • Battery startup Britishvolt CEO to step down
  • Toyo Tire Promotes Rob Lovi to VP of Sales
  • Warren Buffett bullish on driverless trucks after purchasing stake in Kodiak Robotics
  • Industry Veteran Brian Cruickshank to Join Schwartz Advisors
  • Lucid hires former Apple exec amid software struggles with Air sedan
  • I-CAR Announces 2022-’23 Board Chair, Exec Committee

CEO David Smith named chairman of Sonic Automotive; former CEO Scott Smith returns to board

Sonic Automotive Inc. CEO David Smith, following the June 22 death of his father and company co-founder Bruton Smith, has been elected chairman of the board of the dealer group, according to a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing said Sonic’s board elected David Smith, 47, on July 27. In the same filing, Sonic said former CEO Scott Smith was elected, also on July 27, to fill the vacant board seat left open by his father’s death. Scott Smith, 54, who co-founded Sonic with Bruton Smith in 1997, was the company’s CEO from July 2015 until he resigned in September 2018 and was succeeded by his brother David. Scott Smith had been on Sonic’s board from 1997 until 2018. The regulatory filing noted that Scott Smith is a “greater than 10 percent beneficial owner of the company.” Scott Smith’s term on the board is set to expire at Sonic’s 2023 annual meeting of stockholders, the filing said. Scott Smith, who Sonic noted has not been named to any committees of the board, will be paid a cash retainer of $85,000, payable in quarterly installments, the filing said. He will receive a grant of 3,884 restricted shares of Sonic’s Class A common stock, which will vest in full on the first anniversary of the grant date, according to the filing. Earlier this year, Sonic added Michael Hodge, executive vice president, finance, of Speedway Motorsports, to its board, while longtime board members Vic Doolan and Robert Heller did not seek reelection. Sonic, of Charlotte, N.C., ranks No. 7 on Automotive News’ most recent list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 103,486 new vehicles in 2021.  Source: Automotive News

EV truck maker Nikola to buy battery supplier Romeo Power

Nikola Corp has agreed to buy battery supplier Romeo Power Inc. for about $144 million in stock, the electric truck maker said on Monday, in a move that will help jumpstart its efforts to make battery packs. The offer values Romeo Power at 74 cents on a per-share basis, or a 35 percent premium to the stock’s Friday close. The company’s shares were up 22 percent in trading before the bell. Romeo Power is one of the company’s battery suppliers for its prototype electric trucks along with LG Energy Solution and Proterra Inc. Nikola will be able to accelerate the development of its EV platform with the acquisition of Romeo Power, Chief Executive Officer Mark Russell said in a statement. The company said in June it was evaluating the option of making its own battery packs in 2024 to boost volumes and reduce costs. Battery material costs have risen over the past few months, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine forcing electric vehicle makers to raise prices. The truck maker said that it would provide Romeo Power with $35 million in interim funding to facilitate continued operations.  Source: Automotive News

Pepper Wilson Joins AASA as Marketing Manager

The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (“AASA”) announced that Pepper Wilson has joined the AASA team as marketing and communications manager. In this role, Pepper will oversee marketing projects including AAPEX and other major events, brand development, and company messaging to reinforce and expand AASA’s presence in the market and focus on connecting members, AASA says. “We are fortunate to have Pepper join our team and contribute to AASA’s marketing and communications efforts,” Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of AASA. “We are excited to leverage her expertise and aftermarket industry experience to keep building the AASA brand and engaging members and partners across the industry.”  Pepper joined the automotive aftermarket in 2017, working for one of the largest warehouse distributors in the Southeastern United States. A graduate of Longwood University in Business Administration and Management, Pepper played Division I softball while earning her degree and went on to play two years in the National Pro Fastpitch league for the Chicago Bandits.  Source: Aftermarket News

NUCAP Brake Components Names VP of Business Development

NUCAP Brake Components has announced plans to invest substantially in the next five years to re-establish its leadership position in the North American aftermarket brake components supply chain. The investment will include reengineering OE new part introductions for the aftermarket; retooling the most popular part numbers in the aftermarket; and appointing Robert Bosco as VP of Business Development. Robert (Bobby) Bosco will bring 44 years of brake experience to the NUCAP team and will be directly involved with product innovations and business development. NUCAP Brake Components says it will resume its world-class service to all North American friction companies through its locations in Toronto, Canada; Connecticut in the U.S.; and Juarez, Mexico. With this major investment, NUCAP says its objectives will be to: Bring back short lead times; full line coverage of all product lines: backing plates, shims and all hardware; second-to-none engineering and testing services; and first-to-Market NPI Launch partnerships with customers.  Source: Aftermarket News

Honeywell Appoints Vimal Kapur President and COO

Honeywell announced that Vimal Kapur, current President and CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT), has been appointed to the role of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective immediately. The presidents of all Honeywell Strategic Business Groups will report to Kapur in his new role, while Kapur and all functional leaders will continue to report to Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk. Kapur will continue to perform the role of President and CEO of Honeywell PMT, a business group that develops process technologies, automation solutions, advanced materials, and industrial software, until his successor is named. Kapur has over three decades of experience across various Honeywell businesses and, as COO, will work closely with Adamczyk to drive the continued profitable growth of Honeywell’s operating businesses. This includes creating new solutions to help customers drive their sustainability transformations and accelerate their digital transformation journeys.  Kapur will also oversee the continued integration of Honeywell’s operating system, “Honeywell Accelerator,” across the organization and further its adoption as a learning tool for all Honeywell employees, the company says. “Vimal is uniquely qualified for this role, having proven his operational capabilities across many different industries, business models, regions, and business cycles,” said Adamczyk. “Vimal has served Honeywell customers for 33 years, and in that time has achieved a deep understanding of the Honeywell portfolio, our end markets, and our customers’ needs. He has successfully driven sustainability and digitalization solutions across our portfolio.  I look forward to partnering with Vimal to strengthen our execution and drive further value creation for our customers and shareowners.” “I’m honored to step into the COO role, where my initial priorities will be to support Darius with a key focus on our sustainability and digitalization solutions,” Kapur said. “By building on and expanding the use of Honeywell Accelerator, we will be able to integrate and innovate with greater speed across our lines of business. These ongoing efforts are at the core of our growth opportunities and, looking ahead, will enable us to advance our collective success.”  Honeywell says under Kapur’s leadership as President and CEO of PMT, the business continues to rapidly pivot its portfolio to sustainable offerings in circularity, energy evolution, environmental transformation, resiliency, and accountability. This includes launching innovative technologies and partnerships with Avangard Innovative and Sacyr with new plastics recycling technology and with TotalEnergies for a petrochemical offtake company.  In addition, Kapur and his team introduced large scale renewable energy storage for wind and solar usage with Duke Energy and helped Walmart and AstraZeneca lower their carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency with the Solstice Line of products. The PMT business currently has 20,000 employees and operates in more than 100 countries globally.  Source: Aftermarket News

REV Group Names New SVP, Chief Information Officer

REV Group, Inc., with leading companies that design and manufacture specialty vehicles in the fire & emergency, commercial and recreation industries, announces Sagar Murthy has joined the executive leadership team as SVP, Chief Information Officer (CIO). Murthy will assume the role of current CIO Peter Panagis who is retiring. Reporting to Rod Rushing, President and CEO of REV Group, Murthy will oversee Digital Transformation, Information Technology Strategy, Application/Infrastructure Operations and Business Value Creation across 20 manufacturing facilities which employ over 7,000 employees throughout the U.S. Most recently, Murthy served at Jason Group Inc. as Senior Vice President and GM APAC & ME and Group Chief Information Officer. Prior to that, he held positions as Vice President & GM for Jason Group India, responsible for the business operations in India and adjacent markets. Murthy spent the majority of his career with Actuant Corporation in a series of progressive leadership roles, concluding as Group Chief Information Officer, where he built and led a culturally diverse team of technology professionals supporting Actuant’s diversified industrial manufacturing operations across the globe. “Sagar brings a proven track record as a hands-on, transformational leader adept at building, scaling and deploying industry leading digital technologies that deliver growth and improve operational excellence,” said Rod Rushing, President and CEO, REV Group. “He will work closely with Peter as we execute this planned transition. I would like to thank Peter for his contributions to REV Group over the past five years and wish him well in his retirement.” Murthy earned a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Marquette University and serves on the board for First Stage, Wisconsin’s leader in arts-in-education programming, supporting over 20,000 children each year.  Source: Aftermarket News

ACC Announces Leadership Team for 2022-2023

The Automotive Communications Council (ACC) has announced that new selections have been made to the organization’s leadership team and board member lineup. ACC says the announcement of the new roles provides an exceptional opportunity for the council to continue its objective of providing networking and educational programs in support of all members and their responsibilities as marketing and communication professionals within the automotive aftermarket. The member-run ACC is led by a leadership team consisting of a president, vice president and immediate past president. The leadership team is supported by six members of the ACC who serve as board members. The leadership team for 2022-2023 is:

  • President: John McGrane, Acme Manufacturing
  • Vice President: Shawn Collins, EXTEND Group
  • Immediate Past President: Jennifer Holland, ASE

The newest member who has been elected as board member is:

  • Leyla Saad, Schrader TPMS Solutions

Current board members are:

  • Joanne Baik, DENSO
  • Shawn Bird, AutoNet TV Media
  • Peter Bulmer, Turnkey Media
  • Patrick Cronin, NTN Bearing Corp.
  • Heather King, John Dow Industries

Immediate past president Jennifer Holland announced the new appointments for the leadership team and board members noting, “The ACC is extremely proud to have this elected board of individuals leading our organization as we move into an anticipated time of growth as we emerge from the pandemic. Starting with the annual conference in August in Savannah, we look forward to offering valued networking and educational events supporting the professional members of ACC. These activities are only possible with a dedicated group of individuals to lead ACC in a collective effort to bring value to our industry.” “We truly appreciate the high level of engagement by our immediate past president, Jennifer Holland,” added newly appointed ACC President John McGrane. “Jennifer led our organization through unprecedented challenges, and has further solidified the foundation of the association, setting us up for success going forward. I am thankful to have her continued participation and guidance.” All newly appointed members begin their roles effective immediately.  Source: Aftermarket News

Fontaine Modification Taps Jennifer Sweet

Fontaine Modification Work Truck & EV Solutions announced the addition of Jennifer Sweet to its team as vice president of work truck sales and business development. Fontaine Modification, with corporate headquarters in Charlotte and other facilities located throughout the United States, is an engineering-driven provider of post-production truck modifications for OEMs, dealers, and fleets. The Work Truck & EV Solutions division focuses on commercial vehicle modifications, as well as electrification packaging, integration, and installation solutions. “With over 25 years of experience in the commercial truck industry, at the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), dealer, and equipment supplier levels, Jennifer is well-suited to grow Fontaine’s work truck industry business,” said Mike Randolph, president. “I am genuinely excited about the tremendous possibilities we have to offer customers at Fontaine Modification,” Sweet said. “With more than 40 years of experience, Fontaine Modification understands the importance of building strong, long-term relationships with dealers and end users. In my new role, I look forward to developing and growing the work truck segment for Fontaine in this ever-changing commercial market.” Sweet began her career at a full-line GM dealership as commercial manager selling GM light and medium duty vehicles. She later spent 10 years with a GM and Isuzu joint venture as a medium duty district sales manager in the North Central and Southeast Regions.  Source: Aftermarket News

Center for Automotive Research Announces New CEO

At the 57th Annual Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Michigan, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced a new President and CEO, Alan Amici, following the announcement of the retirement of current CEO Carla Bailo after nearly five years of leading the Ann Arbor-based non-profit. Amici will assume his new role starting Sept. 1. “It has been a true pleasure working with such a talented and respected team at CAR. I’m sure the CAR organization will continue to thrive under the new leadership. Alan is a great addition to lead the team as the industry transitions to EVs, CAVs, and beyond.” said Bailo. “It is an extraordinary time to be in the mobility industry. Technical innovation is driving enormous changes to the products and processes that drive our business,” said Amici. “CAR’s commitment to independent research is and will remain essential to its core values. It is an honor and a privilege to lead the CAR organization.” Amici is joining CAR after a 30-plus year career with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and TE Connectivity, holding various positions in engineering, manufacturing and service. His roles at TE Connectivity included vice president and chief technology officer, Transportation Solutions, and vice president of engineering, Automotive Americas. Highlights of his tenure at FCA include head of Global Uconnect – Infotainment and Connected Car Platform, head of Electrical/Electronics Engineering (Torino, Italy & Auburn Hills, Mich.), and senior manager, Global Service & Parts (Stuttgart, Germany). Amici is the owner of two patents and recipient of the Walter P. Chrysler Technology Award. He holds an MBA, a Master of Science degree, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He currently serves on the board of advisors at Penn State Harrisburg and is a Chrysler Institute of Engineering graduate.  Source: Aftermarket News

EV maker Nikola names Michael Lohscheller as its next CEO

Nikola Corp. said Wednesday that Michael Lohscheller is taking over as the electric-truck maker’s chief executive officer when Mark Russell retires on Jan. 1 next year. Lohscheller, who joined the company in February, will take over as president from Russell and join Nikola’s board effective immediately, the company said. Lohscheller, 53, was instrumental in Tre battery electric vehicles’ production and in achieving development milestones for the Tre fuel-cell electric vehicles, the company said. Nikola, aiming to manufacture between 300 and 500 Tre battery electric trucks this year, stuck to its production target last week after its second-quarter revenue beat estimates. Lohscheller was the CEO of German automaker Adam Opel AG from conglomerate Stellantis’ stable and briefly served as Vietnamese car maker VinFast’s global top boss before taking on the role of Nikola Motor’s president. Lohscheller has improved communication and accelerated decision-making at Nikola Motor, Chairman Stephen Girsky said in a statement. Russell, 59, replaced Nikola Founder Trevor Milton, accused of defrauding investors by lying about the company, as CEO in 2020. Shares in Nikola rose 2.7 percent before the bell on Wednesday.   Source: Automotive News

Online used-car retailer Shift Technologies plans merger with CarLotz

Online used-vehicle retailer Shift Technologies Inc. said Tuesday it plans to combine with CarLotz, a used-vehicle consignment company, in a stock-for-stock merger. The companies cited “complementary geographies” as a reason for the merger. CarLotz aims to use Shift’s proprietary inventory acquisition software and at-home delivery offering to help obtain “differentiated inventory” and expand the geographic footprint in which it operates. Shift, in its announcement of the deal, said it wanted to use CarLotz’s mid-Atlantic retail locations “to scale its dealer marketplace on the East Coast.” The companies didn’t announce a name for the combined entity but said it will trade under Shift Technologies’ SFT ticker symbol. Shift Technologies and CarLotz, which have each had challenging years adjusting to changes in the used-vehicle market, said they expected the transaction to close in the fourth quarter, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. Upon the closing, the combined company is expected to have a cash position of about $125 million, Shift’s announcement said. CEO Arison, left, will step down. Clementz, president of Shift, will become CEO. Arison will remain as chairman of the board of directors. “We are strongly convinced that the merger will put us in a position to pursue a profitable future,” Shift Technologies CEO George Arison said in the statement, which was released ahead of Shift’s second-quarter earnings release. Arison will step down as Shift’s CEO effective Sept. 1, the company also announced Tuesday. Jeff Clementz, the current president of Shift, will step into the CEO role. Arison, who founded Shift in 2013, will stay on as chairman of the merged company’s board of directors. Shift Technologies’ shares were up 15 percent to $1.47 in Tuesday after-hours trading. Shift said it was also implementing an updated business plan, which includes a work force reduction. In a quarterly filing, the company said it will eliminate about 650 positions — 60 percent of its work force — through the third and fourth quarters. In the last several months, it became apparent that Shift’s current business plan — which estimated profitability by 2025 — would be “extremely difficult to finance in the current market environment,” Arison told investors and analysts during the company’s earnings call Tuesday. “We needed to come up with an alternative plan that accelerates profitability, with significant lower volume and lower cash burn,” Arison said. Later Tuesday, after the merger news, Shift announced a wider loss for the second quarter as it grappled with economic headwinds in the used-vehicle market, including rising interest rates and elevated gas prices. Shift recorded a net loss of $52.2 million, larger than its loss of $31.7 million in the year-earlier period. Its total revenue rose 44 percent to $223.7 million in the quarter. Shift’s volume of cars sold online rose 17 percent to 6,872 vehicles. But profitability for those cars fell 38 percent year over year to $1,729. The company once again noted “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern. Shift’s ability to keep operating depends on its ability “to obtain additional equity or debt financing or generate profitable operations,” it said in its regulatory filings. Shift hopes its updated business plan will put it in a position to “reach positive unit economics” in 2023 and achieve “company-wide profitability” in 2024.  Source: Automotive News

Martin Winter Joins ZC Rubber Europe Technical Center

Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) has appointed Martin Winter as technical director, Tire Development EMEA & Americas at ZC Rubber Europe Technical Center in Hanover, Germany. Winter will work with Martin Wells, vice president, ZC-Technical Center & Global OE, and Jörn Tietjens, key account manager OE, to support the ZC Rubber’s OE project development and compliance with the latest legal regulations on a global basis. Winter will be leading the tire development, testing and corresponding activities related to the company’s OE project development, as well as technical guidance to all departments with tires, regulations and standards, latest changes in the field of sustainability. He will report directly to Martin Wells. Winter has more than 20 years of experience in tire manufacturing and OE developments across well-known tire companies, including Continental, Goodyear Dunlop Tires, Hankook and Sentury. Before his joining in ZC Rubber or Entry in ZC Rubber, he worked very successfully in technical lead positions and most recently as global technical director OE. “It’s great to have Martin Winter on board as he has profound knowledge for OE developments with leading OEMs and he can be of great support to the essential processes to establish ZC Rubber as a sustainable partner for the automotive industry in Europe and USA,” said Wells. ZC Rubber opened its Europe Technical Center (ETC) in Hannover, Germany in 2021. The ETC is to provide support to the global development of the company’s original equipment project development and to work with key OE accounts in the region.  Source: Aftermarket News

Allison Transmission Announces Board Changes

The board of directors for Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. announced it has taken a range of Board refreshment actions, including naming Richard P. Lavin to succeed Thomas W. Rabaut as lead independent director, effective as of the date of the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. In addition, four new independent directors, Philip J. Christman, Sasha Ostojic, Gustave F. Perna and Krishna Shivram, have been appointed to the board, effective immediately. Finally, four directors, including Rabaut, will retire from the board and not stand for re-election at the 2023 annual meeting. These actions will increase the size of the board to 14 directors until the 2023 annual meeting. “The changes announced today reflect a deliberate process by the board to recruit new directors who will complement the overall mix of skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives on the Board,” said Dave Graziosi, chairman and CEO at Allison. “I am pleased that we have identified four outstanding independent directors in Phil, Sasha, Gus and Krishna, who each bring extensive experience in areas relevant to our business and will be great assets to Allison as we continue to execute our growth initiatives and prepare for the transition to zero-emission vehicles.” Allison also announced that four existing directors, Stan A. Askren, Alvaro Garcia-Tunon, chair of the audit committee, Thomas W. Rabaut, outgoing lead independent director and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee, and Richard V. Reynolds, prior chair of the compensation committee, will serve out their current terms but will not stand for re-election at the 2023 annual meeting. Lead Independent Director Thomas Rabaut to Retire; Richard Lavin Appointed New Lead Independent Director Thomas W. Rabaut has informed the board that he will not stand for re-election at the 2023 annual meeting. Rabaut has served on the board for 15 years and has served as the lead independent director and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee since 2012. The board has named Lavin to succeed Rabaut as lead independent director, effective as of the 2023 annual meeting. Rabaut will assist in the transition until his retirement. “Rich will step into the Lead Independent Director role with ease given his board leadership experience and understanding of Allison’s business and strategy,” said Tom Rabaut, retiring lead independent director. “I’m grateful to Rich for stepping into this role and continuing Allison’s commitment to strong independent board leadership.” “On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank Tom for his many contributions and the essential role he has played on the board and as lead independent director,” Graziosi said. “Tom has been a thoughtful, knowledgeable and dedicated Board member, advising Allison’s management team through its early days as a stand-alone company, followed by its initial public offering and onward to a fully independent company executing on growth initiatives to drive shareholder value. Through each transition, Allison has greatly benefited from Tom’s insights and wide-ranging industry knowledge, and I am grateful to him for his service.” As part of its director succession and refreshment process, the board has appointed four new independent directors to fill the board positions that will be vacated by four retiring directors at the 2023 annual meeting. The Board appointed Philip J. Christman, former President, Operations of Navistar International Corporation, as an independent director of the company, effective immediately. The Board also appointed Christman to the Board’s Audit and Compensation Committees. “Phil has a long history in and extensive knowledge of the commercial vehicle industry, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him to the Board,” Graziosi said. “Along with his deep industry knowledge, Allison will benefit from his ability to provide important customer-focused perspectives to our Board.” The Board appointed Sasha Ostojic, Venture Partner at Playground Global LLC, as an independent director of the company, effective immediately. The Board also appointed Ostojic to the Board’s Finance Committee. “Sasha’s background in developing emerging technology in the automotive and other industries and delivering them to market will be of great value to our Board as Allison continues to evolve its propulsion solutions portfolio to meet evolving end market needs,” Graziosi said. “In addition, his venture capital and entrepreneurial experience will provide valuable insight to our Board as we continue to execute our growth initiatives.” The Board appointed Gustave F. Perna, former retired General, United States Army, as an independent director of the company, effective immediately. The Board also appointed Perna to the Board’s Audit Committee. “Gus will bring valuable leadership, supply chain, logistics and international affairs experience to our Board from his more than forty years of service in the United States Army, including as leader of Operation Warp Speed and Commander of Army Materiel Command,” Graziosi said. “In addition, Gus’ deep knowledge of the defense industry will provide our Board with relevant insight into an important end market for Allison.” The board appointed Krishna Shivram, former CEO of Sentinel Energy Services Inc., as an independent director of the company, effective immediately. The Board also appointed Shivram to the Board’s Audit and Finance Committees. Shivram will succeed Alvaro Garcia-Tunon as Chair of the Audit Committee effective as of the date of the 2023 annual meeting. “Krishna’s experience as a chief financial officer and treasurer, as well as in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, bring important and valuable skills to our board,” Graziosi commented. “In addition, Krishna’s expertise in the energy market will provide our Board with valuable knowledge of an industry that impacts our global off-highway end markets.” In addition to Rabaut, Stan A. Askren, Alvaro Garcia-Tunon and Richard V. Reynolds are retiring from the Board effective as of the 2023 annual meeting. Following the 2023 annual meeting, our board will return to ten members. “On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Stan, Alvaro and Dick for their many years of committed service,” said Graziosi. “Their leadership, guidance and expertise have played an important role in Allison’s success.”  Source: Aftermarket News

GMB Names Doug Hightower VP of NA Aftermarket Division

GMB North America announced Doug Hightower was appointed Vice President of its North American Aftermarket Division. Hightower joined GMB North America in May of 2019 as an executive advisor. He brings more than 30 years of automotive aftermarket knowledge and expertise to his new role, where he will work closely with GMB President Jay Kim to continue growing GMB’s product profile, business network and brand in North America, the company says. Hightower began his career with Purolator as a buyer at its corporate offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After Purolator was purchased by Mark IV Automotive, he became a senior buyer and product manager of automotive hose for Dayco Products. He held various titles at Dayco, including product manager for hydraulic hose and fittings, and eventually director of purchasing for the North America aftermarket, GMB adds.  Source: Aftermarket News

Mullen Taps Andre Hudson as VP of Design

Emerging electric vehicle manufacturer Mullen Automotive, Inc. announced the addition of Andre Hudson as its Vice President of Design. Hudson is an experienced vehicle design expert with a proven history of compelling design and brand vision leadership, which resulted in several highly successful concept and production vehicles in the marketplace, Mullen says. Prior to joining Mullen Automotive, he was the Head of Product Design at IndiEV. Hudson has a BFA in Industrial and Product Design. During his 25-year long career, Hudson has worked for General Motors Co., Hyundai and Icona Design. “I’m so excited to fully unlock the potential of what Mullen Automotive has and look forward to realizing that potential with the knowledgeable and respected team of individuals here,” said Hudson. “We are fortunate to have Andre on board. He will play a key role in working with various teams to develop the aesthetics of the Mullen product portfolio,” said David Michery, CEO and chairman of Mullen Automotive. “We take pride in the fact that our vehicle designs are ‘Strikingly Different’; Andre will help us take our styling to the next level with the extremely valuable expertise he brings to the table.” Mullen’s EV development portfolio includes the Mullen FIVE EV Crossover, the Mullen ONE EV Fleet Vans, and the DragonFLY Sports Car. Mullen recently announced the “Strikingly Different” U.S. Test Drive Tour for the Mullen FIVE EV Crossover, covering 19 cities across the U.S. The tour will begin this fall in Southern California and work its way throughout the U.S.  Source: Aftermarket News

Tom Glaser Joins Bartec USA

TPMS provider Bartec USA has hired Tom Glaser to join Bartec USA’s team of North American account executives. “Most recently from NAPA, Tom brings along an impressive resume and huge respect in our industry,” stated Bartec CEO Scot Holloway. Glaser’s career in the automotive aftermarket spans more than 30 years and includes the role of district sales manager. Glaser has extensive experience in sales management, product development and customer support. “Tom has really made a name for himself in in the automotive aftermarket,” said Ed Jones, director of sales. “His wealth of knowledge, and the ability to help customers succeed, will make Tom successful as part the Bartec USA Team.” Bartec USA continues to build its North American sales and support team. The company has created a new position, field service associate. Bartec says the field service associate will provide direct, in-store, support and training, making good on the company’s commitment to helping customers “Own the Wheel Well.” Bartec has already filled one region, the U.S. Southeast, and is currently interviewing for the Northeast and Southwest positions.  Source: Aftermarket News

Clif Armstrong Named Dir. of Comm. Sales for TBC Brands

TBC Brands, one of the largest distributors of proprietary brand tires in North America, has appointed Clif Armstrong as the director of commercial sales. In this role, he will lead all efforts surrounding the growth of TBC Brands’ commercial business. For nearly 30 years, Armstrong has led the strategic development of the commercial tire business for several tire manufacturers, including Continental Tire as director of commercial tire marketing in the Americas, the fourth-largest commercial tire company in the world; as president of Pirelli Industrial Tire North America (part of the Prometeon Tyre Group); and Marangoni Tread North America, a worldwide recognized leader in retreading technology, as president and CEO. He also served on the board of directors for Systeme De Rechapage RTS and Marangoni Tread North America from 2019 to 2021. “Through his vast knowledge in the commercial tire and retreading industry in addition to his extensive customer-centric sales and management experience, I am confident that Clif will lead the TBC Brands commercial team into our next phase of growth,” said Geoff Doster, president and chief operating officer, TBC Brands and TBC International.  Source: Aftermarket News

Canada’s Unifor union elects Lana Payne president

Lana Payne has been elected as the new national president of Unifor, taking over the role five months after longtime leader Jerry Dias abruptly retired as head of Canada’s largest private sector union. About 1,000 Unifor delegates, voting on behalf of locals across Canada, cast ballots at the union’s constitutional convention in Toronto Wednesday. Payne, 56, becomes Unifor’s second president and first woman president. She defeated Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor’s national president and Dave Cassidy, president of Local 444, were also in the running. The initial vote between the three candidates left no candidate with 50 percent. However, Cassidy was eliminated and the union held a runoff. Payne won with 61 percent in the runoff. Unifor represents about 315,000 workers across Canada, including 41,000 at auto assembly plants and parts suppliers. It was formed in 2013 following the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. Until his retirement this March, Dias had spent 8 ½ years as the public face of Unifor, being elected to three three-year terms as president. Yet allegations made about Dias’s conduct by the union’s National Executive Board following his abrupt retirement have kept the labor organization off balance for months. On March 23, the NEB accused Dias of violating the union’s constitution, alleging he accepted $50,000 from a supplier of COVID-19 test kits he had helped promote to union employers. Dias said he was entering rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse the same day. Payne entered the presidential contest in April, calling for new accountability measures, a more transparent approach to union decision-making and renewed focus on local input at the national level. A Deer Lake, Newfoundland, native, Payne started her career in labor with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, then affiliated with the CAW. She served two terms as Unifor’s Atlantic director before being elected to the post of secretary-treasurer at the union’s 2019 convention. Along with tracking union finances in her most recent position, she also oversaw the monthslong investigation of Dias. Speaking with Automotive News Canada ahead of the election, Payne said she had developed an 11-point plan for her first 100 days as Unifor president. She aims to unite the union following the chaotic end to the Dias era and re-engage with Unifor locals.  Source: Automotive News

NPR HQ Management Team Taps James Tagai

NPR of America, Inc. (NOA) a division of Nippon Piston Rings Co. Ltd, announced James Tagai will transition from his position as general manager of NOA, to a management position at NPR headquarters in Saitama, Japan, effective August 2022. Tagai will be returning to Japan as part of the management team at the International Sales Division (ISD) where he will continue to support NOA’s expansion in the American continent, the company says. NOA has also announced that Romy Laxamana, currently serving as NOA’s sales manager, immediately assumes the position of General Manager of NPR of America. Romy will be responsible for leading NOA’s aftermarket activities in the North, Central and South American automotive aftermarkets. The sales team will continue to report directly to him, NPR says.  Source: Aftermarket News

MotoRad Names Matt Buchholz CEO

MotoRad LTD announced Matt Buchholz, president, will assume the role of CEO, effective Sept. 1, as Offer Shachar ends his term as CEO. Shachar will continue to serve in an advisory role. Buchholz joined MotoRad in 2015 as the President of the Americas. “Matt is a strong leader and has been my partner in positioning MotoRad as a company that delivers on our customer promise of the best coverage and service levels,” said Shachar. “He has been instrumental in leading our company through a difficult season to ensure we maintain continuity of supply to our channel partners.  Matt has led our team exceptionally by growing our industry leading coverage, including BEV/PHEV, as well as ICE applications, developing an enhanced tech stack to deliver category insights & strong advanced planning tools, as well as launching new product categories in emerging technologies.  Moreover, he has a strong and contagious passion for serving our customers and team members. His 20+ year career in automotive, building and leading teams, has positioned Matt to lead MotoRad for years to come.” “On behalf of the MotoRad board, I want to thank Offer Shachar for his service over the last 8 years,” said Steve Skinner, MotoRad chairman. “Under his leadership we have grown and strengthened our position in the aftermarket, developed innovative products for both ICE, as well as EV applications, and developed a highly capable leadership team. Matt has an exciting vision for MotoRad’s future, and has a deep understanding of the industry, our customers, and our team.  As such, he is the ideal person to lead MotoRad into the next chapter.” “I am honored to be selected to lead MotoRad. The automotive industry and the people in it are the absolute best,” said Buchholz. “The team at MotoRad has a collective passion to serve our channel partners, which has been our heartbeat since 1958. Our global team is strongly positioned to take on future challenges. With our investments in emerging technology products, talent, digital transformation, advanced planning tools and a robust supply chain, we are well poised to serve the evolving market. I am proud of our Israel, US, Mexico and Germany team members and look forward to the future. I am forever thankful to Offer Shachar for his leadership and partnership over the years.  It has been a joy to serve with him.” Since taking over as President of the America’s in 2015, Buchholz has overseen all functional operations and business units during his tenure, MotoRad says. His 20+ year career has spanned across various automotive disciplines, including operations, brand management, marketing, new product development and sales. Buchholz serves the industry, church and community through various boards, as a coach and volunteer. He will continue to work out of MotoRad’s Atlanta office residing in Roswell, GA, with his wife of 17 years and 3 children. Buchholz is a graduate of Northwood University where he also received his MBA from the DeVos school of business.  Source: Aftermarket News

Speedway Motorsports Names 2 to New Leadership Positions

Speedway Motorsports announced executive leadership moves today that strengthen the company both at the corporate and entertainment facility levels. Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Rob Ramage has been promoted to Speedway Motorsports senior vice president of government relations and deputy counsel. Replacing Ramage at the helm of The Great American Speedway will be veteran AEG executive Mark Faber, who joins TMS after serving as senior vice president of global partnerships at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Both announcements were made today by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith at a Texas Motor Speedway team luncheon. Ramage’s promotion takes place immediately, and he will continue to serve as general manager at TMS until Faber assumes the position on Aug. 22. Ramage has worked for Speedway Motorsports since 2013, serving first as general counsel & director of governmental affairs and senior vice president of finance & compliance at Texas Motor Speedway. His efforts spanned a variety of capacities, including risk management and working with government entities, business leaders and community advocates. In August of 2021, Ramage was named senior vice president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, where he led the TMS staff in hosting last year’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series playoff race, the XPEL 375 NTT Indycar Series race (March) and the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race (May). Before joining Speedway Motorsports, Ramage practiced law in Dallas, Texas, focusing on complex litigation, intellectual property and business transactions. “Rob’s accomplishments in government relations and the legal fields have been invaluable to our company as we continue growing our investments in the great state of Texas,” said Smith. “Now with a year of experience as a speedway general manager, Rob understands even more about building the community and fan relationships necessary for our success,” Smith added. “In his new role, Rob will not only invest his energy and enthusiasm in what we are doing in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin markets, but also lend his government-relations expertise and legal support to our sports entertainment executives and venues nationwide.” Faber joins Speedway Motorsports after spending the last 17 years with AEG, one of the world’s leading sports and live entertainment companies. As Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas since 2014, Faber led a team responsible for securing high-revenue, long-term partners for naming rights, founding partners and premium inventory such as suites, loge boxes and club seating. Under Faber’s leadership, T-Mobile signed its first-ever naming rights agreement with the state-of-the-art arena which hosts more than 100 events annually and is home to the UFC and the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Faber was actively involved in the design phase of the arena as well as public relations, civic and charity initiatives. Preceding his move to Las Vegas, Faber served as AEG’s senior vice president of business operations and midwest partnerships at the T-Mobile Center (formerly Sprint Center) in Kansas City, MO from 2005 to 2013. During this time Faber consulted on sponsorships and premium seating renovations for Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Before AEG, he worked as a Regional Vice President for Learfield Sports in Dallas and also held senior level positions with Host Communications, Galles Indy Racing and PSP Sports. Faber’s career in the sports industry also includes positions with the Orange Bowl and a six-year period with the Dallas Cowboys where he began as the sales and syndication coordinator for Dallas Cowboys Television Productions and was promoted to Vice President of Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Sales and Marketing. During Faber’s time with America’s Team, the Cowboys won back-to-back world championships and Faber was a member of the post-season advance team for NFC Championship Games and Super Bowls. “Mark brings more than 30 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industries to Speedway Motorsports,” said Smith. “Texas Motor Speedway has been hosting major races, concerts and special events for more than 25 years. With Mark’s expertise in corporate sales, fan engagement and event management at premier facilities, we are well-positioned for The Great American Speedway to move into its next quarter-century. “We welcome Mark back to Texas and to the Speedway Motorsports family, and we look forward to his leadership as our team works together toward the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Playoff race at TMS in October.”  Source: Aftermarket News

RealTruck Hires Tom Luttrell as 1st Chief Information Officer

RealTruck, a manufacturer and online retailer of aftermarket truck parts and accessories, has hired Tom Luttrell as its new chief information officer (CIO). Luttrell will be responsible for advancing the company’s information technology infrastructure to improve business capabilities at RealTruck, formerly Truck Hero Inc. “I’m honored to be named RealTruck’s first CIO,” said Luttrell. “Joining an organization that inspires people to live its brand is one of the many things that appealed to me about RealTruck. I look forward to working with the leadership team to build the IT infrastructure that will support our continued growth and success.” “We’re pleased to welcome Tom to our RealTruck leadership team,” said Bill Reminder, CEO. “Tom has a proven track record of helping build businesses and teams, as well as running successful IT projects and systems. He’s a valuable addition to our company as we strengthen our customer first capabilities across our 28 manufacturer brands.”  Luttrell brings substantial business and technology experience from a variety of previous roles, most recently as the senior vice president of information technology at Shiloh Industries, where he focused on enterprise research planning (ERP) consolidation and the company’s move to cloud-based computing. Before Shiloh, Luttrell was the CIO and vice president of customer care at the Masco Cabinetry business unit of Masco Corp., and prior to that, he was with Federal-Mogul Corp. for 17 years in various leadership roles. RealTruck recently announced its name change and rebrand with its “In The Real” campaign to motivate people to get offline and explore the outdoors.  Source: Aftermarket News

S&P Global Mobility Names Mark Rechtin Executive Editor

S&P Global Mobility announced it named Mark Rechtin to the newly created role of Executive Director and Executive Editor. He will be part of the automotive leadership team and will report to Kristen Balasia, vice president of consulting, S&P Global Mobility. Rechtin brings three decades of automotive editorial experience to the new role, having worked for 20 years at Automotive News covering the Asian OEM presence in the U.S. market, as well as the rise of Tesla, says S&P. Rechtin also led Consumer Reports’ automotive team, transforming how the organization analyzed data editorially. Most recently, he was editor-in-chief of MotorTrend. Rechtin also is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors for his prescient and detailed dissection of the auto industry, capped by the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for his previous work, S&P adds. “I’m delighted to bring Mark on board during the industry’s transformative period into electrification, autonomy, and mobility,” said Joe LaFeir, president, Automotive Insights, S&P Global Mobility. “Mark’s exceptional understanding and knowledge of the industry – from R&D and product development, to sales and marketing and service, to supplier and dealer business, will provide significant value for our clients moving forward. His ability to lead the editorial analysis of competitive market trends will be essential to enriching S&P Global Mobility’s client interactions and distilling our authoritative voice.” Rechtin will be based in Los Angeles and work with S&P Global Mobility clients worldwide.  Source: Aftermarket News

Alltech Automotive Names Richard Odom VP of Sales & Marketing

Alltech Automotive, a manufacturer of aftermarket auto parts for the U.S. and world markets, has promoted aftermarket industry veteran, Richard Odom, to vice president of sales and marketing. “Richard has been instrumental in the expansion of our customer base, including the introduction of our QualityPro line of products,” said Nancy Liu, president and CEO at Alltech. Odom began his aftermarket career in a NAPA store in 1981 while attending the University of Kansas. A 40-plus-year veteran of the automotive aftermarket, he has held numerous sales and marketing positions with Federal-Mogul, Dana, MAHLE Aftermarket and ZF. In his most recent position, he has served as director of sales for the traditional and retail markets since joining Alltech in January of 2021. Odom will continue to work out of Alltech’s aftermarket sales office in Prattville, Alabama. “I am very excited about what we are building at Alltech,” said Odom. “We have world-class products and a world class team. We have recently gained approval for our complete family of QualityPro products at both The Group and APA. In my new position, I look forward to continued growth with our current and new partners.”  Source: Aftermarket News

ATD Expands Leadership Team

American Tire Distributors (ATD) has announced the expansion of its leadership team with the addition of Moid Alwy as chief supply chain officer. In this role, Alwy will oversee ATD’s sprawling supply chain and evolve the vision and strategy for the supply chain’s function and innovation. “I am pleased to welcome Moid to ATD’s leadership team,” said Stuart Schuette, president and CEO. “As we continue to transform our business, we are focused on creating a sustainable supply chain of the future to serve our customers and partners. Moid has a proven track record in designing network strategies and driving supply chain innovation.” Alwy joins ATD following nearly 20 years at Target, where he began as a lead analyst in 2003 and rose through the ranks to become vice president of global supply chain and logistics. For more than four years as VP, Alwy led the Global Operational Intelligence team, responsible for overall network steering, data and analytics, and critical transformation initiatives. He was part of the Supply Chain Leadership team that played a vital role in scaling Target from a $70 billion retailer to more than $100 billion over the past two years. Prior to his time at Target, Alwy spent two years at US Bancorp, where he was responsible for the successful technology integration and implementation of mergers and acquisitions. Alwy graduated with a degree in Information Systems and Mathematics from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He holds a Lean Six Sigma black belt certification for exceptional leadership capability.  This executive role addition marks the latest transformative business strategy for ATD. “Bringing Moid on board to lead our supply chain initiatives is just one piece of our ongoing plan to optimize ATD’s business and creating a truly contemporary, omni-channel, and intelligent supply chain to support our customers and manufacturer partners.,” said Schuette. “Moid’s efforts will be key to transforming the ATD supply chain from a traditional tire distributor to an omni-channel solutions provider.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Donna Wagner Named Assistant VP of ASE Education Foundation

Donna Wagner has been named assistant vice president of the ASE Education Foundation. In her new role, Wagner will work closely with the foundation’s field managers, industry partners, state and national educators and career and technical education (CTE) organizations to help the foundation meet its goals. “Donna has a distinguished 30-year career in the transportation industry. Her insight and expertise will benefit the ASE Education Foundation as we strive to increase the diversity of the talent pool entering the automotive workforce,” said Mike Coley, president, ASE Education Foundation. “Donna’s background will also be an asset in helping us address the technician shortage and connecting people and organizations together to further advance the mission of the ASE Education Foundation.” Wagner first joined the ASE Education Foundation as Great Lakes field manager, helping high school and college automotive, truck and collision programs earn ASE accreditation and connect with the transportation industry. Prior to the ASE Education Foundation, Wagner served as professor and department chair of the Automotive Aftermarket Management program at Northwood University. In her role, she developed an understanding of younger generations and their unique challenges entering the workforce. Her wide array of industry experience also includes positions in sales, marketing, category management and education. Wagner has worked for a variety of industry suppliers including Tenneco, Wells Vehicle Electronic, Dana Corp., Sherwin Williams and AP Parts Emissions Technologies. Wagner’s career started with the Car Care Council, where she worked through the ranks to lead the organization as president. During her tenure, she helped launch the Women’s Board (now Women in Auto Care) to give women a place to network and encourage their interest in automotive careers. She is active in the industry, having served in a variety of volunteer positions with such organizations as the SEMA PRO select committee, Auto Care Association board of directors, Auto Care Association marketing and education committees, Category Management Association, Higher Education Council, Automotive Public Relations Council and the Automotive Training Managers Council. A recognized industry speaker, Wagner has spoken at functions for many industry organizations, including SEMA, Women in Automotive, AASA Global Summit, Women in Auto Care, PERA, Automotive Sales Council, the Category Management Association Conference and the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium. Her presentations have covered topics such as recruiting and hiring younger generations, aftermarket career paths and global business shifts. Wagner holds an MAAP (Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional) designation as well as an MBA in marketing and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.  Source: Aftermarket News

Torc Robotics names new CEO from Daimler’s autonomous technology group

Torc Robotics will replace its co-founder with a Daimler Truck executive as CEO. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, 52, head of Daimler Truck’s Autonomous Technology Group, will take over from Torc co-founder Michael Fleming effective Oct. 1, the company said Thursday. Fleming, 43, will stay on as a board member and strategic adviser, the company said. Torc is an autonomous technology subsidiary of Daimler Truck North America. Torc, founded in 2005 by Fleming and fellow graduate students at Virginia Tech, initially developed autonomous technology to retrofit vehicles for military, mining and agriculture applications. Daimler Truck North America acquired a majority stake in Torc in early 2019. Schmidt played a crucial role in Daimler’s investment in Torc and has since worked closely with Fleming. Before joining Daimler in 2005, Schmidt was an automotive consultant at McKinsey & Co. “I worked hand in hand with Michael and wasn’t able to do what he did: co-found Torc and drive it for 17 years,” Schmidt told Automotive News. “But I feel my expertise in running large global organizations will bring Torc to the next level.” Torc is now focused on developing autonomous technology for Daimler’s flagship Freightliner Cascadia Class 8 truck. Shortly after the Daimler investment, Torc and Daimler Truck announced SAE Level 4 autonomous testing of the Cascadia on public roads in Virginia. A Level 4 system allows a vehicle to drive itself in most conditions. In 2020, Torc began testing its autonomous technology on highways in New Mexico and later expanded to Texas. With Daimler’s backing, Torc increased its head count fourfold to about 600 and expanded operations from its headquarters in Blacksburg, Va., to a testing center in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2020. This year, Torc opened an engineering office in Austin, Texas, and a technology center in Stuttgart. Torc’s CEO shuffle comes as autonomous trucking is gaining traction as the first avenue for commercializing self-driving vehicles. Competitor Aurora Innovation has said it’s prioritizing the development of autonomous truck technology over robotaxi deployment. Daimler Truck is also working with Waymo, the self-driving division of Google parent company Alphabet, but in a very different capacity, Schmidt said. “We’re developing redundancy for all critical safety systems and then shipping the trucks to Waymo, and they add their sensors and software,” he said. Daimler integrates Torc’s self-driving technology into Cascadia trucks on the assembly line, Schmidt said. And it is specifically designed for the Cascadia and trucking. “It’s not intended to work on a robotaxi or a shuttle or anything else,” Schmidt said. “Just on our truck and to be the best application possible.” Schmidt said he believes trucking is the “perfect application” for autonomous technology. “It can run at highway speed and deliver goods safer, faster and cheaper,” he said. “It will add capacity needed when there are driver shortages,” he said. “It’s just this sweet spot of what the technology can do. I think we are just scratching the surface on the opportunities and believe that trucking will be the first profitable application of autonomy.”  Source: Automotive News

Hyundai Mobis aims to separate key auto businesses into new units

South Korean auto supplier Hyundai Mobis Co. said on Thursday it was considering separating its modules and key parts production businesses into new wholly owned units in an effort to enhance each segment’s expertise and maximize efficiency. Hyundai Mobis, an affiliate of automaker Hyundai Motor Co., said in a regulatory filing it aims to hold a board meeting in September to approve plans to separate the businesses, expected to be launched in November. The new units will be in charge of manufacturing operations, including facility and labor management, while the central management of the company will be focusing on securing future mobility technologies, as well as developing new products. Hyundai Mobis ranks No. 6 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $29.1 billion in 2021.  Source: Automotive News

ZC Rubber Europe Appoints Ákos Barcsik New Deputy GM

ZC Rubber has announced the appointment of Ákos Barcsik as the new deputy general manager of ZC Rubber Europe. Barcsik will oversee ZC Rubber’s overall sales in Europe as well as the development of TBR products for the European market. During his career at ZC Rubber since 2017, Ákos initially served as field engineer manager and later as sales director of ZC Rubber Europe. Ákos has greatly contributed to developing and improving WESTLAKE generation II truck tires. Since becoming the European sales director in 2021, ZC Rubber Europe has seen a significant increase in sales performance. With Barcsik in the lead, ZC Rubber Europe’s sales network has significantly grown. The company has successfully achieved OE fitments with prominent commercial vehicle OEMs, including Schmitz Cargobull, Kögel Trailer and Krone Trailer. “Ákos has proven to be a valuable asset to our European team thanks to his diverse expertise and depth of industry experience. We are confident that we will have more success in the European market as Ákos takes on the role of directing the company’s presence in this region,” stated ZC Rubber. Barcsik has more than 15 years of experience in the automotive and tire industry. Prior to joining ZC Rubber, he served as national field engineer manager for nine years at Bridgestone East Europe.  Source: Aftermarket News

ABC Technologies Announces Leadership Succession

ABC Technologies Holdings Inc., a manufacturer of custom, highly engineered technical plastics and lightweighting innovations to the global automotive industry, announced that its board of directors has appointed Terry Campbell as the company’s president and CEO, effective immediately. Campbell’s appointment follows the mutual agreement for Todd Sheppelman to step down as president and CEO and as a director of the company. Campbell joined the company in 2022 as its chief operating officer. With more than two decades of automotive experience, he previously served as COO of The Woodbridge Group, a leading foam supplier to automotive and other industries, and has held business unit and operational leadership roles at Johnson Controls and Magna, among other leading industrial and manufacturing businesses. Campbell also will be appointed to the board of directors. “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Todd for his leadership and unwavering commitment to our business and its customers,” said James R. Voss, chairman of the board. “Todd’s contributions to the company have been immense. Todd has led the company since 2017 and, in the past two years, he successfully guided ABC through its initial public offering and the COVID-19 pandemic, and was instrumental in the company’s recent acquisitions of dlhBOWLES, Inc. and Karl Etzel GmbH.” “The board of directors is extremely confident in Terry’s leadership. We look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role,” added Voss.  Source: Aftermarket News

Hyzon Motors Announces Leadership Transition

Hyzon Motors Inc., a leading global supplier of zero-emission fuel cell electric heavy-duty vehicles, has announced the company’s board of directors has appointed Parker Meeks, most recently Hyzon’s chief strategy officer, as president and interim CEO, effective immediately, replacing Craig Knight who is also departing from his role as a director of the company. Meeks will assume full responsibility for day-to-day management of all business lines and functions reporting to the company’s board of directors. The board plans to initiate a search to identify potential external and internal candidates to serve as the company’s next CEO. “Parker Meeks has the depth and breadth of experience in the energy, infrastructure, and transportation sectors to provide the leadership and operational expertise Hyzon needs at this critical juncture in the global energy transition. The board is confident Mr. Meeks brings the right skillset that we need at this time,” said Elaine Wong, Hyzon’s lead independent director. “I am honored that the board has entrusted me to lead Hyzon,” said Meeks. “My priority is to ensure the company’s manufacturing capacity is in place with the ability to scale production efficiently. I believe our core fuel cell technology is a distinct competitive advantage, that will allow us to innovate and introduce high-performance vehicles that support the transition to clean energy.” Additionally, George Gu has transitioned from his executive role with the company to the non-executive chairman of the board. In his role as non-executive chairman, Gu will remain available to provide strategic counsel to Meeks, specifically related to R&D initiatives.  Source: Aftermarket News

Apex Tool Group Announces Pete Dyke as SVP, Chief HR Officer

Apex Tool Group today announced the appointment of Pete Dyke to SVP, Chief Human Resource Officer. He will serve on the Executive Leadership Team and report directly to Jim Roberts, Chief Executive Officer. Dyke will commence his duties on Monday, August 22. Dyke has over twenty years of executive HR leadership experience with prominent brands like General Electric, Pentair and Innovative Water Care. He most recently served as the CHRO of Hillenbrand, Inc., where he developed and implemented the company’s first DEI action plan and transformed a decentralized organization structure into a globally consolidated operating model. “I am very excited to join Apex Tool Group, which has a rich and deep legacy producing world-class hand and power tools.  As a woodworker, I’m very familiar with the outstanding brands represented by ATG. My top priority in leading the Human Resources function is ensuring that our associates have opportunities to make a meaningful impact for our customers while simultaneously growing their careers in a way that aligns with their professional needs,” said Dyke. “Pete has significant experience driving HR, operations, and overall business process transformations. I am confident that this appointment will elevate ATG’s mission to become a high-performance organization,” said Roberts. Dyke has a Master of Labor Relations and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics from Michigan State University.  Source: Aftermarket News

Wade Kawasaki Named Exec. Director of SEMA, PRI PACs

Kawasaki will oversee each PAC’s board of directors and fundraising efforts, reporting to the SEMA Board of Directors.The SEMA Board of Directors has appointed industry veteran Wade Kawasaki to serve as the first executive director of SEMA’s and PRI’s respective political action committees (PAC). In this new volunteer role, Kawasaki will oversee each PAC’s board of directors and fundraising efforts, reporting to the SEMA Board of Directors. By law, SEMA and PRI may not use its funds to contribute to federal political candidates. However, each organization’s PAC allows its members to contribute personal funds, which are used to help elect lawmakers who support its positions and initiatives. “The specialty automotive aftermarket and racing industries are facing an uncertain future due to unparalleled government threats,” said SEMA Board Chairman James Lawrence. “SEMA and PRI believe clean air can co-exist with the automotive performance hobby and racing. Unfortunately, government bureaucrats want to restrict grassroots racing, make it burdensome to comply with emissions laws, and ban internal-combustion engines. We need to be prepared to defend the millions of automotive enthusiasts out there, and the best way to do that is through PACs that help elect lawmakers who value our hobby and the $50-plus billion industry.” Prior to his appointment as executive director of SEMA’s and PRI’s PACs, Kawasaki served as the president and CEO of Legendary Companies, overseeing 12 brands and operating six companies, including Coker Tire. He previously served multiple terms on SEMA’s Board of Directors, including as its chairman from 2017-2019, and was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2013. “Advocating on behalf of the aftermarket industry is at the very core of what SEMA does,” said SEMA CEO Mike Spagnola. “I’ve known Wade for more than 20 years. I’m thrilled to have somebody of his caliber helping to take SEMA’s PAC to the next level.” “A strong PRI PAC is the best way to ensure racing’s future is free from government overreach. We have to have the means to fight back,” said PRI President Dr. Jamie Meyer. “I look forward to working with Wade to grow PRI’s influence in Washington.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Group 1 CEO Hesterberg to retire at year’s end; U.S. chief Kenningham named to top post

Group 1 Automotive Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. auto dealership group in 2021, said CEO Earl Hesterberg will retire at the end of the year. Hesterberg, 69, will leave Group 1 effective Dec. 31, and will be succeeded by Daryl Kenningham, the public dealership group’s current president of U.S. operations, Group 1 said in a statement on Wednesday. Kenningham, 58, has been named Group 1’s president and COO, roles that take effect immediately, and he will move into the CEO role Jan. 1. “Now is the perfect time to transition to a new generation of leadership at our company,” Hesterberg said in a statement. “Daryl’s performance throughout his career has been exemplary, and he has driven our U.S. business to record levels. Although I will sorely miss the wonderful people at Group 1, this transition will be seamless and our Company could not be in better hands.” Hesterberg came to Group 1 in April 2005 from a career at automakers, including Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Prior to entering auto retail, Hesterberg worked as group vice president for marketing, sales and service for Ford in North America and in Europe, and also held senior-level roles at Nissan in the U.S. and Europe. He was an Automotive News All-Stars honoree in 2012 and in 2020. In 2020, Hesterberg was recognized for the group’s development and rollout of AcceleRide, its digital sales platform. Under Hesterberg’s leadership, Group 1 expanded internationally, first into the United Kingdom and later into Brazil. Group 1 said it now has 204 dealerships in the U.S. and United Kingdom, after completing the sale of its Brazil operations in July. Group 1 last fall said it would exit Brazil, a country it entered in 2013 with the acquisition of UAB Motors Participacoes. At the time of the purchase, Group 1 said the Brazil dealerships were expected to generate roughly $650 million in estimated annual revenue. But executives have said it was difficult to scale the Brazilian business, citing in part a challenging exchange rate. At the end of 2021, Group 1 said the 16 dealerships representing BMW, Honda, Land Rover and Toyota generated roughly $315.1 million in annual revenue. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, “we have a great group of brands and stores,” Kenningham told Automotive News in an interview Wednesday. “When you look at our footprint, we’re mainly in southern England, and I believe that we will have opportunities to grow beyond that in the U.K.” Kenningham said Group 1 also intends to continue to expand its dealership footprint through acquisitions in the U.S. Group 1 did not make Hesterberg available for an interview Wednesday. Kenningham joined Group 1 in 2011, initially holding the role of regional vice president before taking on additional roles. Before Group 1, Kenningham worked as COO of Ascent Automotive, a Houston-based dealership group, and spent 13 years at Gulf States Toyota, an independent distributor. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master of business administration degree from the University of Florida. “I’ve had a variety of different roles at Group 1, and part of that was to try to prepare me for this new role in January,” Kenningham said. “The company’s in really great shape. I think it’s in a terrific position to do well,” Kenningham said, adding that the industry — and customers’ expectations — are changing. “It’s a digital world, it’s a more diverse world. It’s a more open, transparent world, and we have to be able to be successful there. I think those are the things that we’ll continue to focus on.” Stephens Inc. analyst Daniel Imbro told Automotive News on Wednesday that Hesterberg was “instrumental” in Group 1’s growth. “It feels like a well-deserved retirement,” Imbro said. “I think Daryl, being in leadership for the last number of years and obviously taking over the COO role today, will be very equipped to handle that transition. I feel like there’ll be a good continuity of strategy. Daryl has been involved for a while in that strategic vision for the company. And so I think it’ll be a smooth transition. “The company is getting put into good hands and I expect continued growth and good execution out of that management team,” Imbro added. “I think Earl did a great job helping grow this business and I think Daryl is the right man to lead into the next kind of growth phase.” In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Group 1 said Kenningham will receive a new base salary of $1.1 million annually beginning Aug. 24. No changes are expected to Hesterberg’s compensation, the filing said. Group 1 said in a regulatory filing in April that Hesterberg earned a base salary of $1.24 million in 2021, which increased to $1.27 million in 2022. Group 1 shares were flat at $186.46 in Wednesday afternoon trading. Houston-based Group 1 ranked No. 4 on Automotive News’ most recent list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S. with retail sales of 146,072 new vehicles in 2021.  Source: Automotive News

Battery startup Britishvolt CEO to step down

Orral Nadjari, the founder and CEO of UK battery startup Britishvolt, will step down from his leadership position, the company said. Deputy CEO and president of global operations Graham Hoare, a longtime auto industry executive, will be interim CEO, Britishvolt said Friday in a news release. Nadjari, a former investment banker based in Abu Dhabi, founded Britishvolt in 2019 with Lars Carlstrom, who was forced out of the company in 2020 after reports that he had been convicted of tax fraud in Sweden in the 1990s. Britishvolt told The Guardian that the production pause affected only parts of the factory as it awaited final designs due in autumn. Hoare joined Britishvolt in June 2021 from Ford Motor Co., where he was chairman of Ford of Britain. He started at Ford in 2002, and before that held management positions at Jaguar Land Rover and BMW. Britishvolt is working with UK sports-car makers Aston Martin and Lotus to develop high-performance EV batteries. It is building a battery factory in Northumberland, England, that could eventually supply batteries for 300,000 EVs a year, and provide 3,000 direct jobs. In January of this year, the UK government said it would support Britishvolt through a 100 million pound ($118 million) grant from its Automotive Transition Fund, as the country seeks to develop a domestic battery industry to help secure future production of electric vehicles. The final grant offer from the fund was announced at the end of July.  The government backing is expected to unlock 1.7 billion pounds ($2.12 billion) in private funding for the factory, Britishvolt has said. The executive turnover at Britishvolt comes amid reports that the factory plans are on “life support” to cut costs, according to an article this month in The Guardian newspaper. The report said that work on the factory has been severely restricted until February as Britishvolt works to secure more funding and power supply infrastructure.  Source: Automotive News

Toyo Tire Promotes Rob Lovi to VP of Sales

Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announced Rob Lovi was promoted to vice president of sales, effective August 22, 2022. Previously serving as the director of sales, national strategic accounts, Lovi’s promotion is a part of the company’s succession plan following the appointment of Mike Graber to president and chief executive officer earlier this year, the company says. Lovi first joined Toyo Tires as a director of sales in July 2018 and brings nearly 18 years of tire industry experience to the role.  “Rob Lovi has been an integral part of our team since joining us in 2018,” said Graber. “As Toyo Tires continues its rapid growth in the United States, Lovi’s sales leadership and extensive experience within the tire industry will help support our future goals and serve our dealers well. We are thrilled to have him assume this new role with us moving forward.” A graduate of Concordia University with a degree in Economics, Lovi has previously served in management at Michelin North America and as vice president of sales and marketing for Vector Fleet Management, LLC.  Source: Aftermarket News

Warren Buffett bullish on driverless trucks after purchasing stake in Kodiak Robotics

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. didn’t gain fame for investing in startups. The venerated investor has a predilection for buying time-tested businesses like an oil company, a railroad or an insurer that are bets on the steady and profitable growth of the U.S. economy. Buffett shied away from technology stocks for years before taking the plunge with Apple Inc., which was already woven just as deeply in the fabric of the economy as Occidental Petroleum Corp., BNSF Railway Co. or Geico. It came as no surprise that Buffett eschewed the SPAC and NFT crazes. His longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, in February railed against the “wretched excess” in both venture capital and cryptocurrencies.  This is why investors should take particular note that Pilot Co., which operates Pilot and Flying J travel centers and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, agreed on Tuesday to take a stake in Kodiak Robotics Inc., a driverless truck startup. Pilot will get one of Kodiak’s five board seats. Although the investment amount and percentage of ownership in Kodiak weren’t disclosed, Pilot is now the largest strategic investor in the startup. This investment is a significant validation by Berkshire Hathaway, through Pilot, that driverless trucks are on the cusp of being a reality. It may be hard and even scary to imagine an 18-wheeler with no human on board humming down the highway intermingled with passenger cars. This may happen more quickly than people think. Kodiak is already operating trucks with a safety driver on board on routes between Dallas and six cities, including Atlanta. In a couple of years, Kodiak expects to take that safety driver out of the cab and operate completely autonomous large freight trucks. A slew of other startups are also chasing the driverless dream. Embark Technology Inc., Aurora Innovation Inc., TuSimple Holdings Inc. and others are all testing autonomous truck technology on the highway. Aurora has said it expects to operate without a driver on board as early as next year. Aurora and Embark went public through special purpose acquisition companies while TuSimple did a tradition initial public offering. All three have performed dismally and are down more than 75 percent since first trading. Kodiak, which has investors including tiremaker Bridgestone Corp. and BMW’s venture fund, is teaming up with Pilot to create an autonomous truckport in Atlanta that would offer services like fueling, inspections and maintenance for Kodiak’s driverless trucks. Pilot’s truck stops would also serve as a meeting point outside large urban areas where a driverless truck would drop off a trailer that would be picked up by a truck with a driver to navigate city traffic. The driverless truck companies all contend their technology will make big rigs much safer for U.S. highways. It’s a low bar considering that 159,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2019, and 5,600 were killed in such accidents in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The market need is also there. The American Trucking Associations estimates the U.S. is short 80,000 truck drivers, and the shortage is concentrated in long-haul trucking that keeps drivers away from their home for days and even weeks. Those long hauls are the low-hanging fruit for autonomous trucks to pick. If one of Buffett’s companies is taking the plunge into this new technology, don’t be surprised that in a decade or two driverless trucks will also be a mainstay of the U.S. economy.  Source: Automotive News

Industry Veteran Brian Cruickshank to Join Schwartz Advisors

Brian Cruickshank, MAAP, will join the Schwartz Advisors’ team of aftermarket as a partner on Sept. 1. Cruickshank brings nearly three decades of motor vehicle aftermarket experience to Schwartz Advisors. His unique professional background includes serving as executive director of the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University and various leadership positions at Babcox Media. Throughout his career, Cruickshank has been very involved in the industry, serving on numerous committees and work groups within the Auto Care Association, the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association and the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. His industry leadership has been recognized with many honors, including the AWDA Pursuit of Excellence award, the Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award, AIA Young Executive of the Year and the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award. “We are excited that Brian will be joining the Schwartz Advisors team,” said Rick Schwartz, CEO and managing partner. “With his vast experience in the industry, he will be an integral part of our business development team and will also play an active role in all aspects of the SA business.” Brian earned undergraduate degrees from The Ohio State University and an Automotive Aftermarket Executive MBA from Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management. He completed his Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) and Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designations in 2002 and 2007 respectively. Prior to his aftermarket career, Cruickshank served in the United States Marine Corps. Brian will be involved in all three practice areas: advising investors on their aftermarket acquisitions, representing sellers in sell-side projects and assisting businesses with their strategic growth initiatives.  Source: Aftermarket News

Lucid hires former Apple exec amid software struggles with Air sedan

Derrick Carty joined Lucid in June and previously worked at his consulting firm, Carty Consulting. Prior to that, he held posts as director and senior director at Apple. Lucid Motors has appointed a former Apple Inc. executive, Derrick Carty, as vice president of platform software engineering amid a slow rollout of key software features on the EV startup’s Air sedan. Carty’s responsibilities at the newly created post include advanced driving assistance systems, audio, embedded software, and systems architecture, Lucid said a news release. “Carty brings decades of global experience in software development and user interface expertise to Lucid, including 23 years with Apple, and most recently as a consultant for Lucid’s infotainment software team,” the automaker said. Carty will report to Michael Bell, Lucid’s senior vice president of digital. According to his LinkedIn profile, Carty joined Lucid in June and previously worked at his consulting firm, Carty Consulting. Prior to that, he held posts as director and senior director at Apple. “Derrick’s wealth of experience with systems architecture and his ability to lead teams that create customer-friendly, easy-to-use software interfaces is crucial as we continue to roll out new Lucid Air features via our over-the-air software updates,” Bell said in the release. Carty holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in computer science, Lucid said. Lucid’s Air sedan, which launched last year from the automaker’s new factory in Arizona, has received strong praise from auto reviewers for its power, comfort, handling, range and efficiency. However, there also have been complaints from reviewers and early buyers concerning the six-figure sedan’s in-house software as being slow, glitchy and incomplete. “Lucid seems to have whiffed it when it comes to the Air’s in-car tech and driver aids,” Edmunds said in a review on its website. “Our test car was plagued by persistent Bluetooth connection errors on both iPhone and Android devices.” Edmunds also noted Lucid’s delays incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software, which mirror smartphone applications like music, navigation and podcasts onto a vehicle’s infotainment screen. Lucid, which has been regularly updating its vehicle software through its over-the-air capability, has said CarPlay and Android Auto will be coming this year along with other improvements. YouTube content creator Jon Rettinger, who was an early buyer of the limited-run Air Dream Edition in December, announced last month that he had sold the sedan despite high praise for it overall. “The performance was nuts, the luxury was incredible, the build quality was outstanding,” Rettinger told his 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube. But he also reported software issues during his ownership. “I’ve mentioned that the software stuff has not been as incredible as I would have liked,” Rettinger said. But his reason for selling the Air, he added, was that he had taken delivery of an EV pickup from another California EV startup, Rivian Automotive Inc., and had to choose between the two.  Source: Automotive News

I-CAR Announces 2022-’23 Board Chair, Exec Committee

I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, Board of Directors announced its 2022-2023 Board Chair and Executive Committee members, following a nomination process by the I-CAR Board Governance and Nominations Committee, and ratified by the I-CAR Board on August 24. Jim Guthrie, president, Car Crafters, Inc., has been elected to the role of Board Chair. Guthrie has served as Vice Chair since 2020, has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2018, and has served on the I-CAR Board since 2016. Members of I-CAR’s Executive Committee were also announced:

  • Chair: Jim Guthrie, Car Crafters, Inc.
  • Vice Chair: Chris Evans, State Farm Insurance
  • Secretary: Jennifer Goforth, General Motors
  • Treasurer: Dan Friedman, Entegral
  • Immediate Past Chair: Kyle Thompson, USAA

“It is an honor and a privilege to continue serving I-CAR on behalf of the inter-industry as I-CAR Board Chair during one of the most challenging and exciting eras of automotive and collision repair innovation,” said Guthrie. “Together with Chris Evans, our new Vice Chair, the other members of the Executive Committee and our broader Board, we remain steadfast in advancing I-CAR’s mission: to deliver increasingly accessible, on-demand and relevant education, knowledge, services and solutions for the Collision Repair Inter-Industry. We walk together with I-CAR staff, instructors and volunteers, with dedication to helping our industry repair cars right for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” The I-CAR Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from the following industry segments: Collision Repair; Insurance; Vehicle Manufacturers; Tools, Equipment & Supplies; Education and Training; and Related Industry Services.  Source: Aftermarket News

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