Maccabeus Top AutoMobility Stories – March 2023

  • Advance Auto Parts Announces Leadership Succession Plan
  • LIQUI MOLY Appoints New Head of Media Relations
  • Sunsong North America Appoints Drew Stahl as Director of Sales
  • Subaru exec shuffle: New CEO; Doll to step down as U.S. chief
  • Kristen Kellogg Joins CVSN as Director of Operations
  • Husky Corp. Names Mike Ellrich as New Vice President of Sales
  • Founders of Ford’s defunct Argo unit launch new self-driving startup
  • Automotive Performance & Motorsports Caucus Co-Chair Named
  • Misty Walker Promoted at AACF
  • Infiniti Chairman Peyman Kargar to retire as global brand head
  • Chevrolet ad agency hires new chief creative officer
  • BMW names new finance boss
  • Toyota’s outgoing CEO to stay on as Japan auto group chief
  • Executive Moves for Jan-Marc Luchies & Ron Lopez at OneD Battery
  • Frederic Vanlinthout Named Hilco Auto Industry Practice Leader
  • John Dion named Ford chief transformation officer
  • Subaru names longtime exec Troy Poston to top sales job
  • JLR names new boss for Jaguar brand ahead of EV shift
  • Mazda names former North America chief Masahiro Moro as next CEO
  • Rivian Automotive’s chief engineer returns to McLaren
  • GM global marketing chief Deborah Wahl is departing
  • Pamela Kermisch Joins Shyft Group’s Board of Directors
  • High Bar Brands Expands Sales Team
  • LiquidPiston Appoints New Vice President of Engineering
  • Stoneridge Elects Sheila M. Rutt to Board of Directors
  • Navistar Names Stefan Palmgren EVP, Production and Logistics
  • AAM Group Hires Jeff Kesar As Engine Pro Marketing Specialist
  • Auto Care Association Names Dir. of Web, Digital Experience
  • PerTronix Names New Chief Product & Innovations Officer
  • Lubrication Specialties Announces Additions to Marketing
  • AkzoNobel Appoints Ricardo Rosso as Pontiac Site Manager
  • Lyft appoints new CEO in move that may set stage for a sale
  • Alliance names Honda exec Bob Nelson as 2023 board chair
  • Dayco Strengthens Aftermarket Team Structure
  • Spring Manufacturers Institute Welcomes New Team Members
  • Northwood University Names Assistant Director of Aftermarket Education
  • José Muñoz named to Hyundai’s board of directors
  • Tim Clark Named CEO and President of Hitachi Astemo Americas
  • AutoZone Taps New Executive Committee Member
  • Org Changes Coming at DENSO Products & Services Americas

Advance Auto Parts Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Advance Auto Parts today announced that Tom Greco has informed the company of his plan to retire as president and CEO of the company at the end of the year. Following Greco’s retirement, he plans to serve in an advisory capacity through a transition period. In connection with Greco’s planned retirement and the company’s succession planning process, the Advance Auto Parts Board has formed a Succession Committee, composed of independent directors. The Board intends to retain a leading executive search firm to assist in a thorough and comprehensive search that considers both internal and external candidates. Greco commented, “It has been a privilege to lead Advance and I am extremely proud of the talented team we have built as well as the accomplishments we have delivered together. Since my appointment as CEO, we have successfully integrated a transformative acquisition while scaling the business and enhancing our operational efficiency, inventory and distribution capabilities to better serve our customers.” He added, “I believe now is the right time to begin to transition leadership for two primary reasons. First, we are in the final year of our three-year strategic business plan and are in the process of updating our next multi-year strategy. This transition will enable my successor to play a role in developing the next chapter of Advance’s strategy and help ensure the long-term success of Advance. Secondly, by planning for retirement in advance, I will be able to work with the Board’s Succession Committee to identify my successor and facilitate a smooth transition. In the meantime, I’m committed to the execution of our 2023 plan to continue delivering for customers and driving long-term shareholder value.” Eugene I. Lee, Jr., chair of the Board of Directors, stated, “On behalf of the board, we thank Tom for his service and ongoing commitment to Advance. Tom has constructed a strong foundation that will enable success in Advance’s next chapters. Under his leadership, Advance has transformed its talent base and culture, delivered nearly $2 billion of revenue growth and more than doubled its adjusted earnings per share over the last five years. Advance is now better positioned to meet the challenges of today’s dynamic environment and as we undertake our search for the next CEO, we are focused on ensuring that the company continues to unlock its enormous potential and deliver long-term shareholder value.”  Source: Aftermarket News

LIQUI MOLY Appoints New Head of Media Relations

LIQUI MOLY announced Sina Ataei is taking over responsibility for international press and media work at the German motor oil and additive producer. He formerly was LIQUI MOLY’s Content Strategy Lead overseeing the company’s international web and social media presence. Ataei succeeds the highly valued Dr. Peter Szarafinski, who died unexpectedly last year. Ataei is now the point of contact for journalists outside of German-speaking countries, according to LIQUI MOLY. His position supplements the Head of Media Relations in the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region, which remains the responsibility of Tobias Gerstlauer. Both together comprise the press division within Corporate Communications at LIQUI MOLY. “I am delighted that we were able to recruit Sina Ataei for the vacant position of Head of Media Relations International,” said Marco Esser, head of public relations and communications. “The reason for this replacement is a sad one. I can hardly imagine a better and more worthy successor as media representative of our company. Sina enjoys a high reputation in the company, knows us and our products and has a very high level of expertise in international media work.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Sunsong North America Appoints Drew Stahl as Director of Sales

Sunsong North America has appointed Drew Stahl as director of sales. In his new role, Stahl will report to Jeff Coggins, vice president of Sunsong USA. Stahl brings more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry to his new position. He previously held various roles at Cardone Industries from 1998 to 2019, and most recently served as director of traditional sales for the Eastern U.S. at First Brands Group. As Director of Sales, Stahl will be responsible for leading and managing Sunsong’s sales efforts, driving growth, and fostering strong relationships with key customers. His deep understanding of the automotive industry and his proven track record of driving sales make him an invaluable asset to the company. “We are delighted to welcome Drew to our team as director of sales,” said Coggins. “Drew’s wealth of experience in the automotive industry and his track record of success make him the ideal candidate for this role. We are confident that he will help us continue to drive growth and deliver exceptional service to our customers.” “I am honored to be joining the Sunsong team as director of sales,” said Stahl “I am excited to work with such a dynamic and dedicated group of professionals and to contribute to the company’s continued growth and success. I look forward to building strong relationships with our customers and delivering exceptional value to them.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Subaru exec shuffle: New CEO pledges electrification flexibility; Doll to step down as U.S. chief

Subaru has appointed Atsushi Osaki as its next CEO, tasking the manufacturing chief with steering the small-sized Japanese automaker through a challenging era of electrification, automated driving and industry upheaval as it strives to rekindle U.S. sales. The next boss, speaking at a Friday press conference, said that flexibility and expansion will be key focal points of his tenure. Subaru will be flexible in quickly responding to market trends, such as electrification. And it will seek to grow in the U.S. and new markets such as Australia. “We at Subaru want to survive the age of electrification by being nimble,” Osaki said. “We will put various systems in place while focusing on flexibility and expansion.” In addition, Subaru of America announced Tom Doll will step down as CEO and assume a role as corporate adviser at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Camden, N.J., effective April 1. Jeff Walters, currently senior vice president of sales, will be promoted to president and COO. Walters has more than 30 years of experience with Subaru of America. Prior to that, he was vice president of field operations. He also held roles as director of field operations, regional sales manager and brand strategy manager. The U.S., which constitutes Subaru’s biggest market by far, still holds lots of potential, Osaki said. “I believe we can still grow our sales in the U.S.,” he said. “We also receive a lot of customer inquiries from Japan, Asia, Australia and Canada as well,” he said. “At the moment, we are unable to meet such potential demand due to chip shortages, but we will work to resolve such issues and seek to further increase our sales globally.” Osaki, 60, most recently served as global production chief but has a long background in quality assurance, serving as the chief quality officer in recent years to root out quality problems. He takes office in June, joining a reconstituted Subaru board, pending approval at the annual shareholder meeting traditionally held in June. Current CEO Tomomi Nakamura, 63, will become chairman under the wide-ranging management shuffle announced in Tokyo. Nakamura took the helm in 2018 during a difficult period for the all-wheel-drive specialist brand. At the time, Subaru was besieged by a vehicle inspection problem in Japan that hurt the brand’s image in the domestic market. And mushrooming quality problems led to embarrassing recalls, while marring critical product launches, such as the Ascent large crossover. He made quality improvement a top priority of his tenure and implemented sweeping reforms to relieve production pressure on overburdened factories. Osaki was tapped to spearhead that quality initiative as the chief quality officer in 2018. A graduate of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, the Tokyo native joined Fuji Heavy Industries, as Subaru was previously called, in April 1988. At the Tokyo press conference, Osaki said one of his pastimes is eating ramen. Subaru said Osaki is charged with devising a new midterm plan to follow the five-year road map formulated in 2018 that concludes this year. “In the medium to long term, we are in a once-in-century tumultuous time in the automotive industry,” Osaki said. “Even in our main battleground, the U.S. market, it is still unclear and hard to determine how electrification will go from here. There is nothing we can do about uncertainty, so we will try to respond to changes in the market environment flexibly.” Doll, 68, the senior-most executive in the company, joined Subaru of America in 1982. He held a series of executive positions, starting in accounting, then business and strategic planning, before becoming CFO. In April 2009, he was promoted to the role of COO and in 2013 he became president of Subaru of America, historically the top position in the Japanese automaker’s North American operations. In June 2018, Doll was promoted to president and CEO of Subaru of America. Last month, speaking at a luncheon at the Chicago Auto Show where the company had revealed its redesigned Crosstrek, Doll reminisced about his early days with the small Japanese automaker, its frequent “cycles of adversity” and its “David and Goliath” fight to carve out a niche for itself amid much larger rivals. Of his first day at Subaru, Doll, a former accountant for Arthur Young and Co., said they weren’t even expecting him. “I just show up for work, and nobody greets me and they’re not anticipating I’m even supposed to start on that particular day. And I thought I had made a mistake.” He said he phoned his former boss at the accounting firm and asked for his old job back. He was wisely told to call back in two months, and if he still wanted to return, he could. Doll, of course, never did. Subaru of America’s U.S. sales were as low as 100,000 vehicles a year in a period Doll called the company’s “valley of despair” between 1986 and 1994. But beginning in 2008, Subaru set 12 consecutive years of U.S. sales records, topping 700,000 for the first time in 2019, before pandemic-related supply disruptions shrank the company’s manufacturing abilities. “When I started with the company, the stock price was $3 a share and I remember saying to my wife, ‘We should try to buy as much of it as we can.’ But I didn’t have any money, I wasn’t rich and I wasn’t good looking,” Doll said. “The price of the stock over the years increased to over $300 a share, and it did that twice, and the company split the stock six times along the way.” Doll walked through a series of crises over the course of his long career, including several financial disasters, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and finally COVID. He said Subaru weathered each of these events and ultimately came out stronger by focusing on the fundamentals, including its network of retailers in the U.S. “So how did we survive all that? Well, we focus on the details, and we use a simple philosophy that so many businesses I think seem to neglect: We focus on the fundamentals and review them every single day with discipline. And the fundamentals that we focus on are the customer experience in sales and service,” Doll said. Under Nakamura’s watch, hot demand for Subaru products drove U.S. sales to record highs. Then the pandemic and ensuing semiconductor crunch torpedoed volume. In 2020, the automaker fell short of achieving an astounding 12th straight year of record U.S. sales when deliveries dropped 12.6 percent. Last year, U.S. volume dipped 4.7 percent to 556,581 vehicles, far off the all-time high of 700,117 achieved in 2019 before COVID-19 gripped the world. With supply coming back online, Subaru’s U.S. sales rose 1.3 percent to 53,606 vehicles through February. Nakamura strengthened ties between Subaru and its biggest shareholder, Toyota. In 2019, Toyota increased its stake in Subaru to 20 percent, while Subaru took a smaller reciprocal stake in Toyota. That led to increased cooperation, including the joint development of Subaru’s first full-electric crossover, sold as the bZ4X by Toyota and the Solterra by Subaru. Known as an EV skeptic, Nakamura often asked if demand was really that strong for EVs, especially in North America, Subaru’s most important market. But last May, Subaru acknowledged increasing interest in the technology and announced plans to add a dedicated in-house EV assembly plant in Japan from about 2027. The push was part of a multibillion-dollar investment in electrification over five years. Last month, Subaru said it will ramp up its electrified offerings in the U.S. to include several battery EVs by 2025 as it shifts development focus to the segment. In handing the baton to Osaki, Nakamura acknowledged the emerging challenges. “The pressing issues, such as chip shortages and response to electrification, are not at all easy to deal with,” Nakamura said. “We need to explore what would be the best way to develop battery-electric vehicles, and there is also the issue of battery procurement.”  Source: Automotive News

Kristen Kellogg Joins CVSN as Director of Operations

CVSN has announced a new Director of Operations, Kristen Kellogg. In this new role, Kellogg will head up the internal operations of the organization, while working directly with CVSN member organizations to enhance their member experience. Kellogg brings with her more than 12 years of success in heavy-duty aftermarket service, focused primarily on vendor relations and management, program development, IT project management, event planning and marketing. Most recently, she served as director at WheelTime Network LLC, a collection of heavy-duty distributors that also serve as the Daimler Service Network.  “Kristen brings a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to our staff with her time at WheelTime. As we continue to introduce new services and programs to our members, we are confident that Kristen will play a major leadership role in advancing these efforts,” said Nick Seidel, president of CVSN’s Board of Directors. “Kristen has a great track record working with membership organizations in volunteer roles,” said Edward Kuo, executive director of CVSN. “We have a very lean staff structure, so she will take primary responsibility in many areas of our business including managing some of our committees and member work groups. She will also help significantly with our event planning and marketing efforts. We are very fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our staff,” he added.  Source: Aftermarket News

Husky Corp. Names Mike Ellrich as New Vice President of Sales

Husky Corp., a provider of fuel dispensing products and services, has announced the appointment of Mike Ellrich as the new vice president of sales. Ellrich, previously the central regional sales manager at Husky Corporation, brings more than 27 years of experience in sales and business development to the role. Ellrich has a proven track record of success in his previous roles, including managing customer service team and transitioning to central region sales manager for Husky. During his tenure at the company, Ellrich helped grow the Center region over 14 years, adding BJE responsibilities along the way. He is passionate about increasing sales by leveraging external manufacturer representative agencies and exceeding the needs of Husky customers. “We are excited to have Mike take on this new role and bring his wealth of experience and passion for customer service to lead the sales team,” said Brad Baker, executive vice president of Husky Corp. “We are confident that he will continue to make a significant impact on our company’s sales efforts and drive growth for the business.” In his new role for Husky, Ellrich will have management responsibility for the Husky sales team. In addition, he will maintain his sales management role for the central region as a “player/coach.” The company says this unique approach will allow Mike to continue to lead by example and drive sales growth in the Central region while also providing guidance and support to the entire sales team. “I want our customers to see Husky as a partner. I’ll always give the customer their due, listen to them, and do everything I can within my authority to help them out. That means goodwill,” Ellrich said. “When people think of Husky, besides being a great manufacturer, I want them to know Husky is a company that cares, literally cares, about our customers.” Ellrich said he is excited to take on this new role and is looking forward to working with the team to achieve the company’s sales goals.  Source: Aftermarket News

Founders of Ford’s defunct Argo unit launch new self-driving startup, report says

The founders of Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle company that was shut down last year, are launching a new self-driving business that could specialize in trucking and ride-hailing, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The venture by Bryan Salesky and Pete Rander will be backed by an investment from a company that approached them about starting a full-scale AV firm, the people said. The identity of the backer wasn’t immediately clear, but the people said it’s not an automaker. The still-unnamed startup has hired between 40 and 50 workers, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the effort is private. It will be based in Pittsburgh, which was home to Argo and is also the headquarters city for Ford Motor Co.’s new semi-autonomous-driving subsidiary, Latitude AI. The two autonomy entrepreneurs are starting anew after Ford and Volkswagen Group pulled the plug on Argo, shutting down the startup with more than 2,000 employees worldwide. Inc. nearly rescued Argo last year, but pulled out of negotiations as the economy faltered and the online retail giant began shedding staff and cutting costs. Amazon isn’t an investor in the new firm, said the people familiar with the matter. The new venture comes at a difficult time for self-driving technology. It is taking longer than many in the industry had expected for autonomous vehicles to become a viable revenue-generating business, which has led investors to flee the stocks while some incumbents struggle with ways to fund development. Salesky and Rander, veterans of self-driving efforts at Alphabet Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., have brought on board Brett Browning, Argo’s former chief technology officer. In autonomous trucking, the new company would be competing with Alphabet’s Waymo, whose Via unit specializes in freight, as well as startups Aurora Innovation, Gatik AI, Waabi Innovation Inc. and TuSimple Holdings Inc. While the promise of driverless delivery is large, success has so far been elusive. Aurora will be raising money again and has explored a sale or job cuts to keep development funds flush. Waymo has had layoffs while its parent company focuses on AI in other applications. TuSimple has been the focus of a federal investigation in relation to links with China. The robotaxi business is also down to just a few players, with General Motors Co.’s Cruise LLC expanding into new markets along with Waymo. Another robotaxi startup, Zoox Inc., was acquired by Amazon in 2020.  Source: Automotive News

Automotive Performance & Motorsports Caucus Co-Chair Named

SEMA congratulates U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) on being named the Co-Chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. Sen. Mullin is a longtime advocate for the specialty automotive aftermarket, former competitive rock crawler, and an automotive enthusiast with a vehicle collection that includes a ’67 Shelby Cobra, ’72 Chevy C-10, and a ’21 Shelby GT 500. “Sen. Mullin is an incredible advocate for automotive enthusiasts, racers, and over a million men and women who work in the specialty automotive aftermarket,” said SEMA president and CEO Mike Spagnola. “SEMA thanks Sen. Mullin for his leadership on legislation to protect aftermarket businesses and the millions of enthusiasts who make the industry possible. We look forward to working with him and the other co-chairs in the new Congress to protect the right to modify and repair vehicles, race, and maintain motorized access to public lands.” “As a lifelong automotive enthusiast, I am very proud to join Sen. Jon Tester in co-chairing the Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus,” said Sen. Mullin.“Together, we’re pushing back against bureaucratic red tape and overregulation that aims to phase out the entire industry— one that serves as a centerpiece in the lives of millions of Americans.” Sen. Mullin joins Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and U.S. Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) as the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, which features 14 senators and 45 House members. SEMA thanks former U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who served as the Co-Chair of the Caucus from 2010 until he retired earlier this year. While a political career was never a part of his plans, Sen. Mullin ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in 2012 in response to government overreach that threatened his business. During his five-terms time in the House, Sen. Mullin advocated for simplifying regulations on small businesses and helped to lead the fight to provide certainty to racers and motorsports parts businesses surrounding the conversion of street vehicles into racecars. Sen. Mullin was also the lead sponsor of a 2015 law, the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act,” which created a simplified regulatory system for small automotive businesses that manufacture classically-styled replica vehicles.  Source: Aftermarket News

Misty Walker Promoted at AACF

The Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) has announced the promotion of Misty Walker to operations manager. Walker had served as AACF Executive Assistant to Joel Ayres, AACF Executive Director, since 2015. “Misty’s role and responsibilities with the Foundation have continued to increase since joining our team in 2015,” said Joel Ayres, executive director of AACF. “Our Executive Committee felt we needed to change her role to better reflect these increased responsibilities.” “Misty has become a more involved with our annual Bob Schoeberl Memorial Golf Tournament and in our recipient application process, as well as in accounting areas,” added Larry Magee, president of AACF. “She is passionate about our mission.” Walker received her degree in Graphic Communications from OKCC, she previously worked as a Project Manager with a web development company. She resides in Sacramento with her husband and two young children.  Source: Aftermarket News

Infiniti Chairman Peyman Kargar to retire as global brand head

The global chairman of the struggling Japanese premium brand Infiniti is retiring from the position at the end of the month and will be replaced by an interim head. Peyman Kargar, who has led Infiniti since June 2020 and was preparing for a wide-ranging brand reboot centered on the QX80 SUV, will leave the role on March 30, the end of Nissan’s fiscal year. A person familiar with the move said Kargar will be returning to France. Kargar, 55, worked at French alliance partner Renault for nearly two decades before coming to Nissan in 2017. He led Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India operations before leading Infiniti. Olga Filippova, general manager in charge of global sales and marketing, will be acting head of Infiniti, parent company Nissan announced on Wednesday in a personnel shuffle. Filippova joined Infiniti in 2018 and assumed her current role as Kargar’s global No. 2 in 2020. Nissan also announced that U.S. marketing chief Allyson Witherspoon is being promoted to lead global marketing efforts for the brand as corporate vice president of global marketing, brand and merchandising. Automotive News named Witherspoon to the 2020 list 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry. Marisstella Marinkovic, a former Kia marketing executive, will take over from Witherspoon as the Nissan brand’s vice president and U.S. chief marketing officer. Marinkovic’s responsibilities include marketing communications and media; customer experience;  and brand and product marketing for the Nissan division in the U.S. Most recently, Marinkovic was director of marketing operations and strategy at Kia Motor America. She has more than two decades of experience in corporate and agency marketing. Last year, Kargar outlined plans to Automotive News to jumpstart Infiniti for a new era of growth and a belated leap into the battery-electric race. The road map included a new look for Infiniti dealerships, a new design language for its vehicles and a flurry of accents to impress customers, such as a unique Infiniti scent and signature sound. The relaunch was scheduled to coincide with the introduction of the redesigned QX80 as the brand’s flagship. A close to production Monograph prototype is set to be unveiled this year. Kargar landed at Infiniti after a period of rapid turnover at the top. He replaced Mike Colleran, who served as global brand head for only three months. Colleran had taken over from an interim chairman following the departure of previous Infiniti President Christian Meunier in 2019 to become global president of the Jeep brand. Meunier’s resignation came just four months after the departure of his predecessor, Roland Krueger. Infiniti’s global sales plunged 55 percent to 84,830 vehicles in 2021, from 188,990 in 2019 before the pandemic. U.S. sales, the bulk of brand volume, fell 20 percent to 46,619 vehicles in 2022. Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn had set a goal for Infiniti to account for 10 percent of the industry’s global luxury market, racking up annual sales of 500,000 vehicles. At one point, Ghosn’s plan called for Infiniti to be a pioneer in luxury electric vehicles, getting an EV based on the Nissan Leaf on sale in 2014. That never happened. The brand’s last major product — the redesigned QX60 midsize crossover — was delayed several months, rolling into stores in late 2021. Infiniti still has no full-electric vehicle. But two EVs for the brand are scheduled to enter production at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant from 2025.  Source: Automotive News

Chevrolet ad agency hires new chief creative officer

McCann Worldgroup’s dedicated Chevrolet agency has hired a Saatchi & Saatchi executive — who has experience with Toyota — as its new global chief creative officer. Fabio Costa, a native of Brazil, has taken on the Detroit-based role at Commonwealth/McCann, which handles the Chevy account via 13 global offices. His hiring continues a leadership overhaul at the 660-person agency as it reshapes itself to better handle the demands of modern-day automotive marketing, which includes a new emphasis on selling electric vehicles. Other recent hires include Global Chief Strategy Officer Joanna Young, who was poached from WPP’s dedicated Mazda agency, known as Team Garage, in October, and Belinda Leworthy as president of North America in April. Leworthy was previously a global client lead handling WPP’s Dell account. “We all inherently understand that when you have a brand like Commonwealth working on a brand like Chevrolet, there’s always the danger of becoming the incumbent that doesn’t look at itself and go, ‘How do we change?’ said Grant Theron, CEO of Commonwealth/McCann and the General Motors business lead for McCann owner Interpublic. “I think the best thing that we can do for our clients is look at the transformation that’s happening in the industry, which is profound. It’s changing daily. And we’re reacting to that daily,” he said. For instance, Leworthy was recruited for her technology background, he said, adding that he wanted someone to “challenge us and say, ‘Are we thinking about the vehicle in a holistic way?’” Costa brings the agency a wealth of international experience. He began his career at Y&R in Brazil and has also logged time in San Francisco for Ogilvy One and TBWA\Chiat\Day, while also working in Paris for Ogilvy. At The Martin Agency, he worked on accounts including Geico,  BF Goodrich and Mentos before making a stop at TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles where he was global creative lead on Adidas and as the U.S. lead on Netflix, Disney and Miller Lite. Costa in an interview said he likes ads that use “emotion, heartfelt stories, real people” — an approach he plans to bring to Chevy. Chevrolet drivers are “bonded to the brand,” he said, “because of the values that are represented by that badge.”“I love the automotive industry,” he added, “and am reenergized to be working for one of the best brands in the world. And my goal is to make it magnetic.” He joins Commonwealth a few months after it parted with its former chief creative officer Gary Pascoe. Costa takes on the global title that Pascoe did not have. “I strongly felt that [Chevy] is a global brand,” Theron said. “And although the U.S. is clearly our biggest market and probably our most important…I really wanted a global perspective. We should be managing this brand as a global brand.” Costa will relocate from Los Angeles to Detroit for the job. He joins as Chevy preps a new product blitz that includes both gas-powered and electric cars. “You could call literally just any Chevy dealer across the country and they’re going to tell you that 2022 was one of their best years ever. And we’ve got an onslaught of product over the next 18 to 36 months like never before,” Keith McCluskey, CEO of McCluskey Chevrolet in Cincinnati and chairman of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council, recently told Automotive News. Chevy owner General Motors in January reported record pre-tax profits for 2022 but announced $2 billion in cost cuts over two years as it prepares for potentially deteriorating global economic conditions. The company does not plan to make layoffs, executives said.  Source: Automotive News

BMW names new finance boss

BMW Group has appointed a new chief financial officer as the German premium automaker spends billions of euros on the shift toward electric cars. Walter Mertl, 49, will succeed Nicolas Peter, 60, who is stepping down after reaching the company’s usual age limit for executive board members. Departing CFO Nicolas Peter has held the post since January 2017. The change takes affect in May. Mertl has held managerial positions in finance, sales and controlling in Germany and the UK, BMW said Thursday. Mertl, who joined BMW in 1998, will oversee the company’s finances as BMW develops a new EV platform to challenge Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. Premium automakers have long defied economic headwinds thanks to robust demand for their most expensive models, with BMW navigating semiconductor shortages better than its rivals. Manufacturers are now facing a weakening outlook particularly in Europe, where high energy prices stoke inflation. BMW’s earnings before interest and tax rose to 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the fourth quarter. Peter, who will turn 61 next month, has been instrumental in helping the company navigate supply snarls better than its rivals. He has held the CFO post since January 2017 and has worked at BMW for more than 30 years.  Source: Automotive News

Toyota’s outgoing CEO to stay on as Japan auto group chief

Akio Toyoda will remain chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association for one more year, after stepping down as Toyota Motor Corp.’s chief executive officer next month, the group said. The departing CEO agreed to extend his tenure following a unanimous vote in January by members of the association’s executive board, JAMA Vice Chair and Isuzu Motors Ltd. President Masanori Katayama said Thursday. JAMA collectively represents 5.5 million employees from 14 of the country’s automobile manufacturers. The industry is undergoing a “once-in-a-century change” as car manufacturers around the world aim to electrify their vehicles to counteract worsening climate change despite restrictive pandemic measures and ongoing component shortages, Toyoda said at a briefing Thursday. Toyoda voiced his intention in January to resign from his JAMA post in keeping with the rule that the chairman must be a sitting president of an automaker. But he agreed to stay for another year. Toyoda, grandson of Toyota’s founder, will become chairman of the automaker after stepping down as CEO. Incoming Toyota CEO Koji Sato was made a JAMA vice chair. Sato unveiled several changes to Toyota’s senior management last month as he prepares to take over, seeking to improve the carmaker’s strategy and messaging in the shift to an electric future. When he was first appointed chair in 2012, Toyoda promised to protect Japan’s automotive industry and its reputation as a world leader. “My feelings haven’t changed,” said Toyoda, who began his second term in 2018. “With the additional year I’ve been given, I will continue those efforts.”  Source: Automotive News

Executive Moves for Jan-Marc Luchies, PhD & Ron Lopez, JD, at OneD Battery Sciences

OneD Battery Sciences has added two proven industry and sector experts to its team. Jan-Marc Luchies, PhD, joins OneD from Infineon as COO, and Ron Lopez, JD, joins the company’s senior management team as General Counsel & CLO (Chief Licensing Officer). Luchies will focus on OneD’s global pilot production, including OneD’s second pilot plant in Munich, Germany, qualifying OneD’s SINANODE technology with automakers before they enter mass production of silicon-based EV batteries. To further advance OneD’s licensing model, Ron Lopez will oversee negotiations with industry partners who want to secure production at a licensed SINANODE production facility.  Source: Automotive News

Frederic Vanlinthout Named Hilco Performance Solutions Associate Director, Automotive Industry Practice Leader

Hilco Performance Solutions (HPS), a management advisory firm, has named Frederic Vanlinthout Automotive Industry Practice Leader. An operating company of Hilco Global, HPS helps clients simplify and streamline business processes and improve operational efficiencies. Mr. Vanlinthout has over 20 years of experience in corporate finance, strategy, and business development in the automotive, financial services, and oil, gas and chemicals industries, including 18 years at Ford Motor Company.  Source: Automotive News

John Dion named Ford chief transformation officer

Ford Motor Co. has hired former ESAB Corp. executive John Dion as its next chief transformation officer as the company looks to cut costs, overcome quality woes and improve its operational execution. Dion will begin his role April 3 and will report to CEO Jim Farley. In a news release, Ford said he will “oversee global deployment of methodologies and tools based on lean manufacturing and related concepts” as the company attempts to implement its Ford+ growth plan. Dion replaces Stewart Rowley, who retired at the end of 2022. “High value and quality, continuous flow, rooting out waste – those things have been fundamental to who we are for more than a century,” Farley said in a statement. “John’s an expert in all of the principles of lean, and he and his team will provide our culture the urgency, guidance and support we need to reassert and raise Ford’s reputation for excellence, thrift and growth.” Dion most recently served as vice president of business excellence at ESAB, a company involved in fabrication and specialty gas-control technology. Before that, he spent 24 years at Danaher Corp. where he led the integrations and transitions of several of the company’s largest acquisitions. “Jim and everyone I met spoke with great clarity and candor about what’s possible and required to fulfill the promise of Ford+,” Dion said in a statement. “What I saw isn’t a simple program or initiative, it’s a new way of doing business – to win and create value for customers and everyone who counts on Ford.”  Source: Automotive News

Subaru names longtime exec Troy Poston to top sales job

Subaru of America has promoted one of its regional vice presidents to lead its U.S. sales operations effective April 1, succeeding Jeff Walters, who will transition to the brand’s top U.S. role. Walters will become president and COO as regional CEO Tom Doll steps down from day-to-day management and assumes an advisory role. Troy Poston, 54, eastern regional vice president of Subaru’s U.S. sales operations, is a 26-year veteran of the brand’s field and regional sales operations. He’ll take over the job from Walters, 56, who has headed Subaru’s U.S. sales operations since 2014 and was named to the brand’s top U.S. role March 3. “Troy brings a passion for our customers, excellent relationships with our Subaru retailers and a deep knowledge of the Subaru sales network,” Doll said in a written statement. “His leadership will be critical moving forward as we look to grow our sales and move past the production constraints of the past few years and begin the launch of a new and more electrified product line-up.” Poston assumes his new role as Subaru works to recover from the industrywide production problems caused by COVID-19 and the global semiconductor shortage. In 2020, the automaker fell short of achieving its 12th-straight year of record U.S. sales when deliveries dropped 13 percent. Last year, U.S. volume dipped 4.7 percent to 556,581 vehicles, far off the all-time high of 700,117 achieved in 2019 before COVID-19 gripped the world. With supply coming back online, Subaru’s U.S. sales rose 1.3 percent to 90,163 vehicles in 2023 through February. Subaru plans to step up its electrification strategy in the U.S., which includes several battery-powered EVs by 2025. The EV rollout will lean on Subaru’s partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. and be further amplified by the expansion of the company’s hybrid vehicles, executives have said.  Source: Automotive News

JLR names new boss for Jaguar brand ahead of EV shift

Jaguar Land Rover has appointed the company’s head of UK operations, Rawdon Glover, to oversee the revamped Jaguar brand. Glover’s title will be “Brand Managing Director, Jaguar,” JLR said in a statement. His promotion comes as Jaguar prepares to become an all-electric brand in 2025 and position itself higher in the market with a new range of luxury models. JLR will give more information on the company’s progress on its plans for the brand in April, it has said. Glover’s former job as managing director of JLR’s UK operations will be managed on an interim basis by Paddy McGillycuddy, currently the head of sales and marketing in the UK, JLR said. Glover joined the British luxury automaker in 2011 from Volkswagen Group, where he rose to the position of head of aftersales and service for the group in the U.S. He was initially appointed director of global customer service for JLR, before moving to the UK position in June 2018, according to his Linkedin profile. The Jaguar brand has seen its vehicle sales decline as JLR directed scarce semi-conductors toward its highly profitable Land Rover models, including the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Defender.  Source: Automotive News

Mazda names former North America chief Masahiro Moro as next CEO

Mazda Motor Corp. has appointed Masahiro Moro, a longtime veteran of its critical North American operations, to be the automaker’s next CEO as it navigates a tricky transition to electrification. Moro, 62, who was chairman of Mazda Motor of America before becoming head of the company’s administrative division in 2021, will take the post in June, pending approval at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. He takes over from Akira Marumoto, 65, who has served as president and CEO since 2018. Marumoto will become a senior adviser. Kiyotaka Shobuda will remain as chairman. Moro was promoted partly for his success at reforming the U.S. dealer network and for rebuilding the profitability of Mazda’s business there, Marumoto said at a news conference on Friday. Boosting sales per outlet in the U.S. is a key target in the automaker’s most important market, Moro said, and the arrival of two new large crossovers will power a U.S. surge. The management shuffle also sees the promotion of North America boss Jeffrey Guyton to become Mazda’s global finance chief and a member of the parent company’s board. Guyton, 56, will be based in Hiroshima. He will keep his role as head of North American operations with the additional responsibility for cost innovation. Guyton will also take on the title of “assistant to the president.” His new role is intended to inject fresh perspective into the export-dependent Japanese automaker, which gets 86 percent of its sales from outside Japan and 36 percent from North America. “We want to bring fresh eyes to the company,” Moro said at the news conference. He will pursue two priorities, he added. “One is to successfully roll out large products, which will be a major growth driver for putting the company on a growth trajectory,” Moro said. “The second is to implement companywide cost reduction activities, including all supply chains and value chains, in order to further improve management efficiency going forward, so as to make our overall business more robust,” he added. The management changes represent a strengthened focus on North America for Mazda, as it rolls out new crossovers and steps up its play in electrified vehicles. Mazda said in November it will invest ¥1.5 trillion ($10.6 billion) into electrification through 2030 with a string of new partnerships targeting everything from batteries and motors to computer chips in an attempt to catch up in the global race for new technologies. The investment could include electric vehicle production in the U.S. as early as 2026-27, the second phase of the company’s just-updated midterm business plan. Mazda’s U.S. sales fell 11 percent to 294,908 vehicles in 2022, in an overall market down 7.9 percent. Its market share dipped to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent the year before. The automaker is anticipating an upswing in U.S. business this year on the expected rollout of the new CX-70 and CX-90 crossovers. Those upmarket, higher-margin products are positioned to help generate the profits that will power Mazda’s investment into next-generation electrification. In the U.S., Mazda has exceeded its goal of renovating 300 retail outlets and expects to hit around 360 stores, Moro said. Another key goal is boosting per-store volume so that dealers can reap bigger sales and have more money to reinvest in their businesses. Mazda had 540 dealerships in the U.S. at the end of December. As newly renovated outlets, it is targeting throughput of 1,000 units per store as an interim goal, and will consider raising that to 1,200. “We are going to secure growth together with the dealers,” Moro said. Mazda expects EVs to make up between 25 and 40 percent of its global sales in 2030. That is up from its earlier outlook, which projected that EVs would account for just a quarter of all volume. But the automaker is keeping the target as a flexible range to account for all the unknowns. Moro is fluent in English and comfortable in international circles. He joined Mazda in 1983, when the company was still called Toyo Kogyo Co. He worked in global marketing operations and was head of Mazda in Europe from 2004 to 2008. Moro became president and CEO of Mazda Motor of America in 2016. Guyton started his career at Ford Motor Co. in 1996, when the U.S. automaker still had a controlling stake in Mazda. He joined Mazda in 2000 as a general manager in its planning division and rotated through roles in Europe before becoming president of Mazda’s regional business there. Guyton took over as president of Mazda Motor of America in 2019. Moro’s appointment at Mazda is the latest within Japan’s group of Toyota-affiliated automakers. In January, Toyota announced Koji Sato will succeed Akio Toyoda as CEO from April 1. Earlier this month, Subaru said Atsushi Osaki will succeed Tomomi Nakamura in June. Toyota has a 5 percent stake in Mazda and a 20 percent stake in Subaru. Mazda and Subaru regularly change CEOs roughly every five years.  Source: Automotive News

Rivian Automotive’s chief engineer returns to McLaren

Rivian Automotive’s chief engineer, Charles Sanderson, has left the U.S. EV startup for McLaren, his previous employer, McLaren said in a news release. Sanderson, who joined Rivian nearly five years ago to develop its R1 vehicle platform, returns to supercar maker McLaren in the role of chief technical officer, McLaren said earlier this week. “Mr. Sanderson will now spearhead McLaren Automotive’s new technology roadmap and product innovation strategy,” McLaren said. Sanderson’s previous role at McLaren was head of software development. Rivian said Sanderson had chosen to return to McLaren. A Rivian spokesperson said Sanderson was part of the product development team reporting to Nick Kalayjian, chief product development officer, who has a strong leadership team and deep bench of talent. According to his LinkedIn page, Sanderson started with Rivian in June 2018 as vice president of vehicle integration and development, a role he held for 15 months before moving to the chief engineer job in August 2019. Rivian launched production in September 2021. The EV startup based in Irvine, Calif., has been struggling with manufacturing issues at its Normal, Ill., plant and has forecast output of about 50,000 vehicles this year. Originally, Rivian had forecast 2022 production at that level, but it produced just under 25,000 consumer and commercial vehicles last year. Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said on an earnings call last month that supply chain constraints are holding back production and making it difficult to ramp up a second assembly shift for the R1T pickup and R1S crossover. Rivian makes an electric delivery van for Amazon on a different line. In the last seven months, at least half a dozen executives have left Rivian. Among the departures are Randy Frank, who was vice president of body and interior engineering, and Steve Gawronski, vice president for parts purchasing, The Wall Street Journal reported in January. Rivian confirmed the departures. The company also lost its chief lobbyist, general counsel and a senior strategy director. The automaker has had two rounds of layoffs in the past year, each shedding about 6 percent of staff. The latest, in February, included about 840 employees out of a total work force of 14,000.  Source: Automotive News

GM global marketing chief Deborah Wahl is departing

General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl is leaving the automaker. A GM representative confirmed the news, saying Wahl “elected to retire” and “will be transitioning through March 31, 2023,” adding: “We appreciate Deborah’s contributions since joining GM in 2018 and wish her well in her next chapter. We will conduct an external search for a new Global Chief Marketing Officer.” Wahl, 60, joined GM in March 2018 as CMO of its Cadillac brand and was promoted to global GM CMO in 2019. She had previously served as CMO of McDonald’s USA. She has been named to the Automotive News 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry list in 2000, 2005 and 2020. Wahl’s departure is “going to be a void that’s going to be tough to fill,” said Will Churchill, dealer principal of Frank Kent Motor Co. in Texas, who also is a past Cadillac National Dealer Council chairman. Churchill said Wahl played a significant role in advancing Cadillac’s brand image, including by crafting a marketing tone that feels more forward from a luxury perspective and by building a strong team. “We’re higher up on the consideration scale, and a couple things play into that — the quality of product and the desirability of the product, and also the marketing,” he said. “You can’t do one without the other. It takes a team effort on all the fronts.” The sudden announcement comes as GM deals with rapid change in the automotive industry — including massive investments in electric vehicles — while it also manages changing economic conditions such as rising interest rates that have led to a softening sales environment. GM reported record pre-tax profits in 2022, but it has also made cost-cutting moves. In late January GM announced a two-year, $2 billion plan that has included job cuts and buyouts. A GM representative told Automotive News earlier this month that “by permanently bringing down structured costs, we can improve vehicle profitability and remain nimble in an increasingly competitive market.” Wahl is a veteran auto marketer, having held brand strategy, communications and marketing roles with Ford, Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler during her career. When GM CEO Mary Barra promoted her to the global CMO role in late 2019, she became the first person to hold that title at the automaker since 2012.  Barra at the time positioned the move as “aligning marketing across GM under Deborah’s leadership,” which she said would “build stronger brands while ensuring more effective, efficient and agile customer engagement.” Wahl told Automotive News in 2020 that her first automotive assignment was with Ford Motor Co. in Brazil, following a six-month post with the company in Dearborn, Mich. In 2020, she described an industry on the cusp of major change, saying: “We’re at a true point of renaissance about the possibilities and the transformation that’s about to happen. It’s one of the reasons that I was so interested in participating with General Motors and being on that team to contribute.” “I think we’re better as a whole, as an industry about how we go after customers, how we’re using data, how we’re using technology, speaking from the marketing chair,” she added at the time. “The change in how we do work, how people think about doing work, how we look at transformation to me has been the most compelling. And I also believe that this period with the COVID pandemic has really accelerated all of us to think completely differently about it.” During her tenure at GM, Wahl kept the automaker’s agency roster largely intact, with Interpublic’s Commonwealth/McCann handling Chevrolet creative and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett on Cadillac. Dentsu’s Carat handles media. Wahl was a strong advocate for Super Bowl advertising. Under Wahl’s leadership, GM and Netflix teamed up this year on a Super Bowl ad and campaign to feature more electric vehicles in the streaming service’s shows and films. GM reported spending $4 billion on advertising and promotion in 2022, up from $3.3 billion in 2021. Wahl in October was added to GM’s 18-person corporate leadership team, adding the senior vice president moniker to her CMO title — making her exit some five months later somewhat surprising. But GM is also being steered by some new members of its board of directors, who are known to take a keen interest in the automaker’s marketing direction, according to a person familiar with the matter. The current board has “a very different tenor from previous orientations,” said this person. New board members include Jonathan McNeill, co-founder and CEO of venture firm DVx Ventures. McNeill, who was appointed in October, is a former chief operating officer at Lyft and former president of global sales, delivery and service at electric vehicle leader Tesla. Also joining the board last year was Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry, whose brands include Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. Members added in 2021 included Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and co-CEO of software firm Workday. Whether or not the board pushes GM to hire its next CMO from outside the auto industry remains to be seen. But that is a real possibility, suggested Dean Evans, a former executive at and former CMO at Hyundai and Subaru. As automakers embrace EVs and new ways of shopping online, “all of that forces this conversation on [hiring] a marketing person that’s outside of the industry,” he said, suggesting the mindset of corporate leaders is, “while we’ve been sitting here in an archaic industry that needs to move forward, why would we put a retread into that?” But outsiders don’t have a great track record in automotive CMO jobs, he added. Ford, for instance, in early 2021 recruited eBay executive Suzy Deering as its CMO, but she parted ways with the automaker in late 2022, and Ford is still looking for a new CMO. Outsiders “have a hard time understanding that you’ve got to be a dealer advocate and the advocate of the brand CFO, while triangulating the sales chief. Those are the orchestrations that, coming from outside, probably [takes] too long to learn,” Evans said.  Source: Automotive News

Pamela Kermisch Joins Shyft Group’s Board of Directors

The Shyft Group, Inc., a North American provider of specialty vehicle manufacturing, assembly, and upfit for the commercial, retail, and service specialty vehicle markets, has appointed Pamela Kermisch, chief customer growth officer at Polaris, to the company’s board of directors. “We are pleased to welcome Pam Kermisch to the Shyft Board,” said James Sharman, chair of the Shyft board. “Pam brings a proven track record of successfully guiding brand strategy and positioning as well as dealer/retail marketing. In addition, her operational expertise in commercial strategy, insights and analytics, digital transformation, and customer experience will complement our existing Board. Pam’s success in leading enterprise-wide marketing and customer growth activities will bring invaluable perspective and insights as Shyft goes to market with electric vehicles for commercial fleets and more.” Since January 2018, Kermisch has served as the chief customer growth officer at Polaris Inc., the global leader in powersports. She is responsible for helping to deepen Polaris’ relationships with its existing valued customers, while also expanding brand awareness and connecting with new consumer bases. Kermisch joined Polaris in 2015 and previously served as the vice president off-road vehicle marketing and Polaris’ On Road business, which includes Indian Motorcycle and Slingshot. In both roles, she was responsible for building a pipeline of potential customers, converting riders from shop to buy, and continuing to build the brand experience with owners. Prior to her positions at Polaris, Kermisch served as the Integrated Marketing Director for General Mills, a global manufacturer of consumer-packaged goods, from 2006 to 2015, where she led integrated marketing for some of its largest brands and key strategic efforts such as Box Tops for Education, expansion in multicultural marketing, and partnerships and licensing. She currently serves on the Greater Twin Cities United Way board of directors and the marketing department advisory board of the University of Arizona Eller School of Business.  Source: Aftermarket News

High Bar Brands Expands Sales Team

High Bar Brands announced the addition of two new territory managers. Joining its sales team are Doug Eitel and Ryan Fleischhacker, both of whom bring a passion for learning about the business and helping customers, which is essential to their new roles, the company says. Eitel, the new Northern Territory Manager, will support Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. The Denver native has spent his entire career in various sales positions in the transportation industry. Fleischhacker, whose Upper Midwest territory includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, has a background in law enforcement and a passion for the outdoors. “Our department continues to grow as we support our go-to-market strategy, and these two are perfect additions to our team,” said Derek Quys, HBB vice president of sales and business development.  Source: Aftermarket News

LiquidPiston Appoints New Vice President of Engineering

LiquidPiston announced Peter Hartman has joined the company as Vice President of Engineering. In this role, Hartman will oversee LiquidPiston’s engineering and product development efforts and help commercialize the company’s X-Engine technology, the company says. Hartman is an automotive industry technology and business leader with over 30 years of experience leading global product and engineering initiatives that drove growth, optimized processes, and improved systems, according to LiquidPiston. He has implemented full lifecycle product plans while building successful, cross-functional teams. “We are thrilled to welcome Peter to the LiquidPiston team,” said Alexander Shkolnik, founder and CEO of LiquidPiston. “His extensive engineering expertise and leadership experience will be invaluable as we continue to develop our rotary engine technology platform and bring the X-Engine to market. We look forward to having him as part of our team as we accelerate the commercialization of our technology.” LiquidPiston says its X-Engine utilizes the breakthrough thermodynamic concepts of the company’s patented High-Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) in a totally reimagined compact rotary engine architecture that overcomes the limitations of the traditional Wankel rotary engine. The result is a purpose-designed power source for auxiliary and hybrid-electric propulsion platforms where portability, efficiency, low maintenance, and jet fuel compatibility all work to overcome current range and payload shortcomings.  Source: Aftermarket News

Stoneridge Elects Sheila M. Rutt to Board of Directors

Stoneridge, a provider of highly engineered electrical and electronic components for the automotive, commercial vehicle and off-highway industries, has elected Sheila M. Rutt to its board of directors. Rutt currently serves as the chief human resources officer of Culligan International, a global water solutions and services company that provides clean and sustainable drinking water for residential, commercial and industrial consumers. “Sheila is a recognized leader in structuring transforming organizations, as well as elevating and enhancing a company’s corporate culture. Sheila’s experience will help us continue to foster a performance-based and inclusive culture focused on accountability and collaboration,” said William M. Lasky, chairman of the board, Stoneridge Inc. “With the addition of Sheila to the Board, we will continue to align the Board’s skills and expertise with the Company’s transformation and long-term strategy.” Before joining Culligan International, Rutt was executive vice president, chief human resources officer of RR Donnelley, a Fortune 500 global integrated communications company providing marketing solutions, multichannel business communications, commercial printing, and related services. Previously, Rutt spent 17 years with Diebold Nixdorf Incorporated, serving in a variety of management roles, ultimately rising to the position of chief human resources officer. Rutt served as the campaign chair for the American Heart Association. She previously served on the United Way of Greater Stark County, Ohio, where she was the director and the campaign chair. Rutt earned a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in business administration from Walsh University. In conjunction with the election of Rutt to the board of directors, the board size was increased to 10 members. Stoneridge recently announced a continued board refreshment plan to attract the necessary talent to impact and accelerate the company’s transformation.  Source: Aftermarket News

Navistar Names Stefan Palmgren EVP, Production and Logistics

Stefan Palmgren has been named executive vice president, production and logistics at Navistar as of June 1. Palmgren will serve on Navistar’s Executive Board and will report to Mathias Carlbaum, president and CEO. Palmgren will be responsible for guiding the strategic direction of all manufacturing, supply chain and logistics activities at Navistar. Most recently, he was head of Industrial Operations Production at the TRATON Group. He will continue to serve in this role as part of the TRATON Truck Board with responsibility for global production of the TRATON Group. “As supply challenges continue to affect our industry, we are finding opportunities to better address key challenges and build capabilities within our manufacturing, supply chain and logistics areas. I am pleased to welcome Stefan to Navistar as his leadership will allow us to meet customer needs today in an agile way, while also accelerating the impact of sustainable mobility,” said Carlbaum. Palmgren has extensive experience in production, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management. For 12 years, he served as head of Powertrain Production at Scania based in Södertälje, Sweden. In this role, he was responsible for powertrain production and was integral in launching TRATON’s first modular product at Scania. He has held various roles with Scania since he began as a production trainee in 1983. In addition to his time served at Scania in Sweden, Palmgren worked as chief technology officer production, research & development and purchasing at Scania São Paulo. “During my time at TRATON, I have worked in collaboration with the Navistar team on the integrated powertrain production. I have been impressed with the team’s ability to seamlessly execute the TRATON modular system, even finding efficiencies to increase value for all our stakeholders,” said Palmgren. “I’m honored to be a part of this high-performing production team and historic North American brand.” Palmgren has a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and production systems from the Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm, Sweden and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering in Hanover, New Hampshire.  Source: Aftermarket News

AAM Group Hires Jeff Kesar As Engine Pro Marketing Specialist

The AAM Group, which recently assumed operational oversight of the Engine Pro program, has announced the hiring of Jeff Kesar to lead marketing and strategic planning for the program. Kesar, who most recently helped Phoenix-based Western Window Systems grow its annual revenue from $6 million to $165 million as the company’s Creative Director, grew up building race cars before shifting gears to enter the world of marketing.  He started his career at Hayes Engineering, a Las Vegas race car and engine-building shop (and home of the famous Mad Hatter), before moving to Shelby American to help establish its chassis line. He notably also produced the “Motorsports Mania” television show that aired on Fox Sports Network Arizona. In his role as AAM Group Marketing Specialist, Kesar will work to bring Engine Pro into the existing portfolio of AAM Group marketing programs, integrating tools and services that make sense for resellers in the engine performance industry as well as devising new solutions that address the particular concerns of those business owners. Kesar also will create and execute an ongoing strategy to generate exposure and influence for Engine Pro supplier partners.  Source: Aftermarket News

Auto Care Association Names Dir. of Web, Digital Experience

The Auto Care Association has announced Kyle Hardy as its new director of web and digital experience. Hardy will lead and execute the strategy for the association’s digital member experience, including the association’s website, content library and other web-based platforms utilized by its members. Hardy is a digital strategist with a background in communication who has specialized in UX design and product development for the past several years. “I’m so excited to support the digital landscape of the Auto Care Association to ensure our members have an unbeatable experience and easy access to necessary resources,” said Hardy. Through his extensive experience, Hardy has provided websites for and built relationships with leaders in the automotive industry. After working for various award-winning creative agencies, he is looking forward to advocating for the rights of the consumer and providing digital resources to all aftermarket industry partners. Hardy studied and graduated from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the Auto Care Association, he served as the digital producer at the marketing agency VIVA Creative.  Source: Aftermarket News

PerTronix Names New Chief Product & Innovations Officer

The group comprising as PerTronix Performance Brands, has announced the appointment of Jamie Meyer as its new chief product & innovations officer. This change takes effect immediately. In his new role, Meyer will oversee product development, engineering and innovation for all brands within the PerTronix Performance family, including PerTronix Ignition, JBA Performance Exhaust, The Original Doug’s Headers, Patriot Exhaust, Compu-Fire, Spyke, Aeromotive Inc., Waterman Racing Components and Taylor Cable Products. “I am very excited to be joining such a forward-thinking organization,” said Meyer. “The leadership team has an ambitious vision of what PerTronix Performance Brands can be, and I cannot wait to help expand this company as well as the entire automotive aftermarket through great products and innovation.” Most recently, Meyer served as the president of Performance Racing Industry (PRI), where he transformed the PRI Show into a top 40 trade event in North America, developed an exclusive membership program for the racing industry, led the purchase of the PRI headquarters in Indianapolis and produced a powerful media footprint for PRI which included the popular PRI Road Tour program. He is also known for his leadership role in the government and public affairs teams at Specialty Equipment Market Association.  Meyer served two years on the SEMA Board of Directors before taking the position at PRI. Prior to PRI, Meyer spent 15 years at General Motors, leading multiple product development teams.  He is most noted for his innovative work with the COPO Camaro, the LS and LSX line of crate engines and components, the emission-compliant E-ROD drivetrains and multiple vehicle-specific performance parts, including the first-ever factory lift kit for full-sized Chevrolet and GMC light-duty trucks. Meyer also spearheaded a line of EV-specific performance parts while at GM. “I am thrilled to have Jamie join the PerTronix Performance Brands product teams,” said Laurent Potdevin, CEO of PerTronix Performance Brands. “He is a passionate, curious and collaborative leader and has been a true enthusiast his whole life. His decades of experience with new vehicles, race teams and high-performance parts combined with his energy and imagination will pave a strong path for this entire organization.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Lubrication Specialties Announces Additions to Marketing

Lubrication Specialties, manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret, announces the addition of Ben Haws as the company’s new digital marketing manager and Chris Lane as Hot Shot’s Secret’s new field marketing representative. Haws recently joined Lubrication Specialties to develop and oversee both paid and unpaid digital marketing campaigns to ensure strong SEO, awareness, engagement, and sales of the company’s flagship Hot Shot’s Secret performance brand. Collaborating with the company’s brand manager and marketing director, Haws will develop strategies to build brand loyalty solicited from both new and returning users for multiple markets. He will also work to increase educational opportunities for Hot Shot’s Secret’s dealer network and fleets. Haws has 10 years of experience in digital media production and marketing and received his B.A. in Media Communication from Union University and a Master of Business Administration in 2021 from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Chris Lane is Hot Shot’s Secret’s new field marketing representative that is working directly with and reporting to Hot Shot’s Secret director of branding and promotions, Kyle Fischer. In this new position, Lane will create programs that will drive brand loyalty and develop strategies to increase brand awareness at consumer and trade events. With a professed obsession with semi-trucks and racing; two important markets for Hot Shot’s Secret, he is a true motorsports enthusiast who says he has had a strong interest with semis since he was a kid and considers this position to represent Hot Shot’s Secret his dream job. With an ever-expanding collection of performance vehicles including Corvettes and Trans Ams, he has co-hosted No Prep Racing events throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan and has been the starter (flashlight guy) at races across the country. “Rarely do we find people that have a true passion for their work and are able to hit the job running,” said Brett Tennar, Lubrication Specialties president. “Haws has a proven track record with creative digital strategies that are executed flawlessly, and Chris is a natural in his role as a field marketing representative. He has even used our products for three years and can speak about their effectiveness first-hand. We are fortunate to have both on board and look forward to their contribution to the long-term growth of Hot Shot’s Secret.”  Source: Aftermarket News

AkzoNobel Appoints Ricardo Rosso as Pontiac Site Manager

AkzoNobel has announced a new site manager for Pontiac Automotive and Specialty Coatings. Ricardo Rosso accepted the position, effective March 1. He started with AkzoNobel in 2011 in Brazil and then joined the company’s North America team (NAM) in 2018 as the production manager for Marine, Protective and Yacht Coatings at its Houston, Texas factory. Previously, he held various roles in AkzoNobel’s supply chain, logistics and manufacturing teams and has supported several projects across the wood, packaging and coil business segments. Rosso reports to Nate Norris, NAM manufacturing and supply chain director, who stated, “As the Pontiac site manager, Ricardo leads all manufacturing operations to ensure our supply chain has continuous improvement. Ricardo brings excellent experience and skills to Pontiac, and I look forward to what he will accomplish as he leads our talented people.” AkzoNobel acquired the Pontiac factory in 1983 as part of the Wyandotte Paint Products acquisition, securing a position in the North American automotive paint market. The company unveiled a modern manufacturing building to produce Sikkens Car Refinishes in 1989 – the first time Sikkens was produced in North America. Pontiac is the only factory in North America to produce vehicle refinishes, signs and commercial vehicle products. Rosso commented, “I am excited about the opportunity to lead the AkzoNobel Pontiac workforce. It has been wonderful to be a part of the AkzoNobel Integrated Supply Chain transformation, and continuously grow my career and skills for the past 13 years. I look forward to helping drive more supply chain improvements in my new role for our customers.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Lyft appoints new CEO in move that may set stage for a sale

Lyft Inc. tapped David Risher to be its new CEO, replacing co-founder Logan Green and setting the stage for a potential sale as the ride-hailing company struggles to compete with bigger rival Uber Technologies Inc. Green, and co-founder and current President John Zimmer will step back from daily operations after more than a decade with the company but remain on the board, Lyft said in a statement on Monday. Risher, 57, who has been a Lyft board member since 2021, has held previous roles as head of product at Amazon Inc. and as a general manager at Microsoft Corp. before launching his own startup called Worldreader. He will take over on April 17. “The decision suggests that Lyft is in a tough competitive position, given operational challenges vs. larger rival Uber,” wrote Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh. “Amid a risk of cash burn and market-share loss, we think Lyft may explore strategic options, including a sale.” Lyft’s shares jumped about 5 percent in premarket trading before exchanges opened in New York on Tuesday. They are down about 13 percent so far this year after plunging 74 percent in 2022. Founded in 2012, three years after its hometown rival, San Francisco-based Lyft has increasingly been marginalized by Uber, which accounted for 74 percent of the U.S. consumer ride-share sales at the end of December, while Lyft had 26 percent, according to Bloomberg Second Measure. Uber has benefited from expanding into food and beverage delivery, which helped it thrive during the pandemic when demand for shared rides plummeted. It also lured drivers with incentives and bonuses during a severe shortage of workers as the economy reopened in 2021. Lyft, meanwhile, has been slow to recover from the pandemic, which caused high prices and long wait times for customers. In January Lyft reduced base ride prices to keep up with a similar move by Uber. In October, the company increased the service fee riders pay directly to cover higher insurance costs. Those expenses are expected to continue to rise. Rather than have riders bear the burden, Lyft has been willing to take the hit to profits instead, Zimmer said in February. Lyft has made effort to cut costs, shedding more than 700 employees last year. Last month, the company forecast dramatically lower profits in the current quarter, sending its shares plunging. Lyft’s earnings stood in stark contrast to rival Uber, which saw ride bookings soar by 31 percent in the fourth quarter surpassing its delivery bookings for the first time since the pandemic. “All founders eventually find the right moment to step back and the right leaders to take their company forward,” Green said in the statement. “David has the right energy, ambition, and experience to lead Lyft into the future.” In a blog post, Green said he will spend more time with his family and explore new ways to help protect the planet. To increase customer retention, the company has worked to expand its subscription product, Lyft Pink, and has partnered with Grubhub to offer members a complimentary subscription to the food-delivery platform. Lyft also launched an advertising unit last year to tap higher-margin revenue, a strategy other on-demand platforms including Uber, Instacart Inc. and DoorDash Inc. have implemented. In a corporate filing, Lyft said it would pay Risher an annual salary of $725,000 and a signing bonus of $3.25 million.  Source: Automotive News

Alliance names Honda exec Bob Nelson as 2023 board chair

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation said Monday it had elected Bob Nelson, American Honda Motor Co.’s executive vice president of corporate services, as its 2023 board chair. Nelson, 58, succeeds Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, Ford Motor Co.’s internal combustion business. “In my 36 years with Honda, the auto industry has never faced the breadth of opportunities and challenges that we are right now,” Nelson said in a statement. “It is critical that the Alliance for Automotive Innovation continue to elevate its voice on behalf of our industry as we transition to the electrified future at a speed that requires increased collaboration among all transportation stakeholders.” Nelson, an Ohio native, joined Honda in 1987 as the company was expanding its manufacturing presence in the U.S. He has held leadership roles across the Japanese automaker’s purchasing and manufacturing areas, with a focus on growing Honda’s North American operations. “I am energized by this opportunity to help lead our industry into the future, finding ways to continue investing in our American workforces and advancing our efforts to collectively provide cleaner, safer and smarter products to American consumers,” Nelson said. The alliance, which represents Honda and other major companies in the U.S. auto industry, also elected Jose Muñoz as vice chair. Muñoz, 57, is CEO of Hyundai and Genesis Motor North America as well as global COO of Hyundai Motor Co. “The auto industry is facing a complex set of policy issues related to electrification, automation and connectivity. Our collective advocacy will benefit from smart leaders like Bob and Jose who know exactly what it takes to design, source, build and ship world-class vehicles,” John Bozzella, the alliance’s CEO, said in a statement. “Their leadership speaks to the important role of both policymakers and industry in the transportation transformation.”  Source: Automotive News

Dayco Strengthens Aftermarket Team Structure

Dayco, a leading engine products and drive systems supplier for the automotive, industrial and aftermarket industries, has announced the promotion of four aftermarket team members – Jay Buckley, Jerry Reeves, Jon Crawford and Sheila Mann – bolstering team dynamics and enabling a more robust customer experience. Jay Buckley has accepted the role of director of marketing, catalog & technical product support. Buckley most recently served as director of product management and has been instrumental in the growth of Dayco’s product portfolio since joining the company in 2020. Given his extensive marketing experience within the automotive aftermarket sector and his background as an ASE certified master technician, his new role will enable the Dayco team to better understand customer-specific needs and take Dayco’s market share to the next level. Buckley also will work with the catalog department to create new benchmarks for automotive, heavy-duty and e-commerce customers as well as oversee the technical product team, expanding the company’s library of technical and training information, videos and services. Jerry Reeves is promoted to manager of product management and will oversee product launches across all applications and industries, taking over the majority of Buckley’s former responsibilities, including leading the entire product team. With more than two decades of program management, product launch, engineering and capital planning experience, Reeves also will play an integral role in Dayco’s supplier rationalization efforts and aftermarket product engineering and testing. Reeves joined Dayco two years ago and has been key to the company launching more than a dozen new products in the past 18 months. Jon Crawford accepted the role of senior product manager, with a focus on special projects. Previously product manager for the industrial division, Crawford has proven to be an indispensable member of the Dayco team since joining the company in 2020. He has already spearheaded many successful cross-functional projects with finance, sales and distribution. In his new role, he will lead the development and growth of industrial belts and automotive and HD water pumps, as well as handle special assignments crucial to the company. Sheila Mann has been awarded the role of financial controller, Canada, and will continue to support the North American team. Mann joined Dayco almost three decades ago and epitomizes the “Move Forward, Always.” mission, starting as a credit manager and continuing to be promoted a number of times throughout her career with the company. She will oversee budgeting and forecasting for the North American team and collaborate and consult with leadership on strategic financial decisions. “We are grateful to have such a talented group of passionate and driven professionals at Dayco and want to recognize those who are helping push us to a new level within the industry,” said Tom Tecklenburg, vice president of Dayco N.A. Aftermarket. “We have an amazing team of dedicated staff who are working together to help ensure stronger customer relationships and continued growth for the company.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Spring Manufacturers Institute Welcomes New Team Members

Gary McCoy, executive director of the Spring Manufacturers Institute (SMI), has announced the hiring of Phil Sasso as managing editor of Springs and Gabriela “Gaby” Carrasco as the association’s new communications and administrative coordinator. Sasso has more than 25 years of experience in marketing communications and journalism with a strong background in the automotive aftermarket. He was a contributing editor for Professional Distributor, writing a sales and marketing column for 12 years. He has also been a contributor to Restyling, Performance Business and Service Station and Garage Management magazines. “I have known Phil for many years through our mutual work in the automotive aftermarket and I have come to respect his hard work and dedication to his craft,” said McCoy. “He is a technical marketing specialist with a strong background in journalism that will be an important addition as I hand off the editorial management of the magazine to him.” As president of Sasso Marketing, his firm develops advertising, public relations and promotional campaigns primarily for professional service providers and tool and equipment manufacturers. Sasso also serves as social media manager for several associations. He has presented marketing seminars for organizations including the Small Business Development Center and the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Sasso holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a minor in communications studies from Northern Illinois University. He is former adjunct faculty for the School of Continuing Education and interim director of the Weekend College at Triton College. During the pandemic, Triton asked him back to develop a marketing curriculum for their proposed Entrepreneur Institute. In her new role with SMI, Carrasco will help support various aspects of the association’s communications and administrative functions, including social media, to help boost member recruitment, engagement and retention. She will provide support for SMI programs, member communications and associated administrative office needs. Carrasco graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in communications with majors in television production and Spanish and a minor in creative writing. “Gaby brings a younger perspective to her work with a strong background in communications, especially in the areas of social media management, website development and copywriting,” said McCoy. “In addition, her recent work in an administrative role presented me with an ideal candidate who can handle a variety of tasks.” Carrasco’s career started as an account executive for Franchise Elevator PR, where she served as a liaison between franchise clients and media. Her work also included the preparation and distribution of news releases for use in pitching traditional print, TV, online and influencer media. From 2019 to 2022, she was a communications specialist for the Village of Villa Park, Illinois. Carrasco managed the design and layout for various written publications, including e-newsletters, news releases, a quarterly print newsletter and the village’s website. In addition, she established Villa Park’s presence on multiple social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. In addition, she coordinated publicity for special events as well as developing PR materials and other outreach efforts. Most recently she has worked in a part-time role as an administrative assistant for D&G Hauling.  Source: Aftermarket News

Northwood University Names Assistant Director of Aftermarket Education

Northwood University has announced that it has hired an industry veteran to serve in a new role supporting automotive aftermarket education. “We are thrilled to welcome James O’Dell as our new assistant director of aftermarket education,” stated Kristin Stehouwer, academic vice president and provost of Northwood University. “His professional experiences and network, along with that of our new University of Aftermarket executive director, will usher in an age of growth for our aftermarket programs, which will benefit the entire automotive industry.” The automotive aftermarket includes vehicle parts, equipment, replacement tires, service repair, collision repair, and accessories sold after the sale of the original vehicle. The Auto Care Association, which represents the entire automotive aftermarket, estimates the auto care industry is a $400 billion industry with over 4.5 million workers. “As our vehicle park continues to increase in age, and our miles driven have reached a new record high, opportunities in the automotive aftermarket continue to grow at a rapid pace,” stated O’Dell, who has served as the business development manager for Fisher Auto Parts in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 2019. “I am proud to join Northwood. Its aftermarket program, and the Northwood Idea, are truly unique in the country,” O’Dell added. “It inspires human potential through education and opportunity which uniquely prepares its students to make a difference and be successful. This is evident in that nearly one hundred percent of Northwood aftermarket graduates are employed — and their average salary is nearly $63,000.” In October, Northwood named Dr. Thomas Litzinger as the executive director of the University of the Aftermarket. Litzinger is an accomplished high-performing executive with over 30 years of leadership experience. “Dr. Litzinger and James O’Dell are industry professionals with diverse experience and skills to lead aftermarket education,” Stehouwer stated. “Their strong associations and ability to form new relationships across the industry will allow Northwood to collaborate with all segments to produce even more career-ready students.” O’Dell noted Litzinger is not just an industry expert; he has the academic achievement to lead and inspire students in Northwood’s undergraduate programs and those in the University of Aftermarket, which provides industry-specific professional development to those working in the industry. He is also proficient in researching and publishing new studies relevant to the industry. Litzinger will lead an effort to develop a new curriculum for the University of the Aftermarket just as Northwood is reinvigorating its aftermarket education through these new hires and a new curriculum. “The investments Northwood is making in aftermarket education shows the university is responsive to the industry’s feedback, and it is stewarding its resources well for the good of the industry,” O’Dell stated.  Source: Aftermarket News

José Muñoz named to Hyundai’s board of directors

Hyundai Motor Co. shareholders elected the automaker’s global COO José Muñoz to its board of directors last week in Seoul, a milestone for both Hyundai and Muñoz. Bringing the Spanish-born Muñoz onto the board is significant because he is not of Korean descent, and the move “speaks to the success he has helped achieve in North America and the trust the company has in him,” a spokesperson from Hyundai Motor America said. Muñoz also is CEO of Hyundai and Genesis Motors North America and Hyundai Motor America. The success of Hyundai in North America under Muñoz’s guidance helped elevate it to become the third-largest automaker in the world by sales, according to the company. Muñoz joined Hyundai in 2019 and helped the company boost its position in the critical U.S. market during the pandemic disruption and industrywide supply chain problems that followed. In three years, Hyundai rose from ninth to fifth place in terms of sales volume in the U.S., helping North America deliver 24 percent of the automaker’s global sales. North America is now Hyundai’s largest single market. In a statement, Muñoz said his appointment is a “testament to all the hard-working women and men of Hyundai and Genesis North America that continue to deliver exceptional results, including our retail partners, technical centers and manufacturing facilities. On behalf of all of us at Hyundai and Genesis Motors North America, we will continue to realize the vision of the company and execute the plan.” Muñoz earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Polytechnic University of Madrid and has an MBA from Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid.  Source: Automotive News

Tim Clark Named CEO and President of Hitachi Astemo Americas

Tim Clark has been appointed CEO and president of Hitachi Astemo Americas Inc. Clark is a senior vice president and executive officer of Hitachi Astemo Ltd. He had been president of Hitachi Astemo Europe, based in Munich, Germany. He succeeds Paul Carroll, who recently was named global account manager for Hitachi America Ltd. Clark also had served as vice president of sales and marketing for Hitachi Automotive Systems in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and previously was general manager in charge of international sales for Hitachi Automotive Systems based in Tokyo. Prior to joining Hitachi in 2003, he was general manager of Unisia North America and also had held executive positions at Nissan North America and with Mazda in Japan. Fluent in Japanese, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies from Brigham Young University.  Source: Aftermarket News

AutoZone Taps New Executive Committee Member

AutoZone, Inc. announced Jenna Bedsole will join the company as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, customer satisfaction. Bedsole will be a member of the company’s executive committee and report to Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO, customer satisfaction. Bedsole comes to AutoZone from Baker Donelson where she served as managing shareholder of the law firm’s Birmingham office. With over 25 years of legal experience, she has successfully represented large employers and public companies in a broad range of employment, policy, and regulatory matters. Bedsole also has earned several professional honors and distinctions throughout her legal career and is an AV Preeminent Peer Rated attorney, according to AutoZone. “Jenna is a proven leader, accomplished professional, and an exceptional attorney. Her highly skilled legal expertise, solution-oriented approach, and past experiences will serve our customers, AutoZoners, and company well for many years to come. It is a pleasure to welcome Jenna to our Executive Committee,” said Rhodes.  Source: Aftermarket News

Org Changes Coming at DENSO Products & Services Americas

DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc., an affiliate of global mobility supplier DENSO Corp., has announced the retirement of Senior Vice President Richard Shiozaki and Vice President of Sales Fran Labun. The aftermarket automotive arm of DENSO, whose groups include commercial and industrial products and services, also announced recent promotions and changes to its organizational structure. On May 31, Shiozaki will retire after 37 years of service. During his final two months with DENSO, Shiozaki is serving as an executive adviser to the company. Labun is retiring March 31 after 41 years of service. “We thank and celebrate Richard Shiozaki and Fran Labun for their leadership that has strengthened every aspect of our company,” said Hirokatsu Yamashita, president of DENSO Products and Services Americas. “Their many contributions include building a strong management team prepared to fill their shoes and guide us into the future.” Replacing Labun is Steve Corey, who has already moved into the role of as vice president and general manager. Corey, who has been with DENSO more than 32 years, served as director of Independent Aftermarket Sales prior to his promotion. In November 2022, Alex Merlina was named senior manager of Commercial and Industrial Solutions (CIS) unit, responsible for DENSO’s Heat Management, Robotics and Automatic Data Capture departments. Merlina, who has more than 25 years of experience with DENSO’s original equipment manufacturing and aftermarket business operations, was manager of project management prior to his promotion. In mid-February, oversight of the CIS unit was assigned to Senior Vice President Norihito Tanahashi. Tanahashi, who has nearly 36 years with DENSO, also is responsible the Original Equipment Sales unit, which he has led since 2017.  Source: Aftermarket News

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