Maccabeus Top AutoMobility Stories – November 2022

  • Ford’s quality chief, Lincoln president to retire
  • TuSimple fires CEO over ties to Chinese firm; exec denies wrongdoing
  • Continental Names Head of US Market Replacement Truck Tire
  • Lidar suppliers Velodyne, Ouster reach merger deal
  • Scania Appoints Gustaf Sundell as Head of Mobility Solutions
  • Piper Sandler Taps James Reilly as Managing Director
  • Doug Brown Named Automotive Lift Institute Chairman
  • Kumho Tire Promotes Denlein to President of Sales and Marketing
  • Self-driving startup TuSimple ousts CEO, independent directors
  • VW brand hires Google exec to head marketing
  • Cloyes Promotes Tim Murphy to SVP of Sales, US and Canada
  • The Wheel Group Names Wade Kawasaki as Executive Chairman
  • NAMAD taps retail outsider as first new president since 2006
  • Mickey Thompson Names Heather Tausch Sr. Director, Marketing
  • Holley Names Brian Appelgate Interim COO
  • Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore resigns
  • RealTruck Names New CEO
  • NGK Spark Plugs Names 2 to Leadership Team
  • Stellantis to buy software developer aiMotive in autonomous vehicle push
  • Cooper Standard Realigns Global Leadership Team
  • SEMA Names VP, Membership, Edu., Research, Councils & Networks
  • Lithia Motors hires Adam Chamberlain, former Aston Martin Americas president
  • Horizon Global Appoints John Kennedy Interim President and CEO
  • President & CEO Named for Continental Automotive N. America
  • SMI Announces Gary McCoy as New Executive Director
  • May Mobility names senior Intel executive as COO
  • GRI Appoints Michael Connor as U.S. Director of Sales
  • All Star Auto Parts Announces Names Andrew Sexton CEO
  • Solid Power CEO steps down
  • Speedway Motorsports Promotes Industry Veteran Matt Greci
  • FullSpeed Automotive Names Sarah Hamp Chief Marketing Officer
  • NTN Announces Retirement of Industry Icon Kevin Judge
  • GSF Car Parts Taps Sukhbir Kapoor as President & COO

Ford’s quality chief, Lincoln president to retire

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that three top executives, including the president of its Lincoln luxury brand, will retire in the coming months as CEO Jim Farley continues to shuffle his leadership team. Joy Falotico, 55, who has run Lincoln since 2018, and Stuart Rowley, 55, Ford’s chief transformation and quality officer, will both retire Dec. 1, the automaker said. Steven Armstrong, 58, the company’s vice president of India and South America transformation, will retire Jan. 1. Ford said Jim Baumbick, currently vice president of product development operations, cycle planning and internal combustion engine programs, will oversee quality. Dianne Craig, 58, president of Ford’s International Market Groups, will succeed Falotico as Lincoln’s president. The moves come as Ford has struggled to combat quality issues on high-profile vehicles. It has issued more recalls than any other automaker in 2022 — 18 recalls covering nearly 7.6 million U.S. vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Quality is our No.1 priority as a company and Jim Baumbick is the right leader to deliver world-class quality and reliability at Ford with a disciplined process that runs from our supply chain to our engineering labs all the way to the factory floor,” Farley said in a statement. Ford said Wednesday that Josh Halliburton, executive director of quality, now will report to Baumbick. Falotico, one of Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Industry and a former Automotive News All Star, joined Ford out of college and started her career as a customer service representative on the finance side of the business before rising to become CEO of Ford Credit. In addition to her Lincoln duties, she served as Ford’s chief marketing officer before the company hired Suzy Deering in 2020. “Joy has been a wonderful steward of Lincoln, building out its distinctive lineup of vehicles and experiences, polishing the Lincoln brand image, and overseeing a promising growth strategy in China,” Farley said. “As Lincoln embarks on its second century, it is well positioned to flourish with a new generation of electric and connected vehicles.” Craig brings experience in a number of areas including sales, marketing, field operations and dealer relations, Ford said. “With Dianne’s global experience, her success in strengthening Ford’s IMG operations and her deep respect and knowledge of our dealer network, combined with her passion for Lincoln, Dianne is an incredible leader to advance the Lincoln brand,” Farley said. The automaker said a successor for Craig will be named later. Armstrong, who has been with the company for 35 years, has served in a number of top leadership roles, including as president of Ford of Europe. “Steve’s leadership has been critical to the significant improvement we have seen in many of our international markets,” Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, said in a statement. “He has taken challenging assignments in the Ford world and always made a positive difference.” Ford said responsibility for the company’s business in South America now will be part of Ford Blue under Galhotra and Ford’s India operations will become part of Ford’s IMG unit. Additionally, Ford Business Solutions will report to Mike Amend, Ford’s chief enterprise technology officer.  Source: Automotive News

TuSimple fires CEO over ties to Chinese firm; exec denies wrongdoing

Shares of TuSimple Holdings Inc. nearly halved on Monday after the self-driving truck startup said it had removed CEO Xiaodi Hou in connection with the company’s ties to a China-backed firm. TuSimple said in a securities filing that an investigation by its board showed some of its employees spent paid hours last year working for Hydron Inc., a startup working on autonomous trucks mostly in China. The company had also shared confidential information with Hydron, which was being evaluated as a potential original equipment manufacturer, that was not brought to the attention of audit and government security committees, according to TuSimple. Hou confirmed in a WeChat post that he had been removed as chairman and CEO by TuSimple’s board, but denied any wrongdoing and said the move was “without cause.” “It is so unfair to let politics get in the way of the dream we were pursuing together,” he said. Hou’s ouster came after The Wall Street Journal report that TuSimple was being investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) about its relationship with China-backed Hydron. The FBI, the SEC and the CFIUS did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. Separately, TuSimple reported revenue of $2.7 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up 49 percent from a year earlier but below analysts’ estimate of $3.2 million, according to Refinitiv data. The company posted a per-share loss of 50 cents, smaller than the 56-cent loss expected by analysts. San Diego, Calif.-based TuSimple has named Ersin Yumer, the vice president of operations, as its interim CEO. The company also said that it had not been able to determine the value of confidential information shared with Hydron.  Source: Automotive News

Continental Names Head of US Market Replacement Truck Tire

Continental recently announced a promotion for its Truck Tires business in the Americas region, which is comprised of medium/heavy commercial tires. Renato Sarzano, head of Truck Tire the Americas, recently announced that Shaun Uys was promoted to head of U.S. Market Replacement Truck Tire including responsibility for Truck Tire U.S. Key Accounts Management (KAM) Fleets. Uys has more than 22 years of experience in the tire sector, having joined Continental in 2000. He has held many positions in the tire sector internationally including South Africa, Germany and U.S. and most recently served as vice-president of Truck Tire OE Americas and Strategic Key Fleet Accounts. He brings a wealth of expertise in truck tire business, including several years within tire manufacturing. “It’s a huge honor to be appointed head of the U.S. Truck Tire Replacement business,” said Uys. “I’m eager to focus our attention on providing value and opportunities to grow our fleet and dealers business. I look forward to meeting our valued customers and working closely with the team.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Lidar suppliers Velodyne, Ouster reach merger deal

Lidar companies Ouster and Velodyne said Monday they plan to merge. The two companies signed a merger agreement Friday. Existing Velodyne and Ouster shareholders would each own about 50 percent of the combined company under terms of the “merger of equals” agreement, which is expected to close in the first half of 2023. Ouster CEO Angus Pacala is expected to hold the same position in the new company. Ouster reported revenues of $11.2 million at the end of the third quarter, an increase of 44 percent year over year. “Together, we will aim to deliver the performance customers demand while achieving price points low enough to promote pass adoption,” Pacala said in a statement. The companies said they expect to save $75 million per year in “operational synergies” across engineering, manufacturing and administration once the merger is complete. As of the end of the third quarter, they had a combined cash balance of $355 million, they said. Velodyne and Ouster compete in precision sensors that enable self-driving vehicles to see the world around them. Both companies have been hit hard as timetables for large-scale autonomous vehicle deployment have stretched out. Ouster shares have lost 77 percent of their value since Jan. 1 and Velodyne was down 80 percent this year before Monday’s merger announcement. “There need to be financially strong companies in this space,” Pacala told Reuters on Monday. “Necessary consolidation is happening.” The announcement comes two days before Luminar, a major competitor in the lidar realm, expects to launch its technology with Volvo as standard equipment in its new EX90.  Source: Automotive News

Scania Appoints Gustaf Sundell as Head of Mobility Solutions

Gustaf Sundell, currently head of Strategy and Corporate Management at Scania, has been appointed executive vice president and head of Mobility Solutions. As of Nov. 1, he will be part of Scania’s Executive Board and will report to Christian Levin, president and CEO Scania and TRATON GROUP. “In his capacity as heading up the strategy department, Gustaf’s contributions to making Scania equipped for an evolving eco-system have been great. With his leadership, commercial expertise and solid experience from Scania internationally, he has a good background to continue to develop the area of Mobility Solutions and secure a close connection to the other functions, as well and contribute to our executive management team,” said Levin. Mobility Solutions, which includes the wholly owned subsidiary LOTS Group, is a unit that was formed in the spring of 2021 with the purpose to capture market opportunities in the future transport ecosystem. The unit is driving the development of new business models outside the current core business, increasing Scania’s role in the transportation and logistics value chain, as well as developing and commercializing the autonomous offering.  “Our industry is going through a major transformation driven by technology and demands from customers and society. Scania’s purpose is to drive the shift toward a sustainable transport system and by working closely with our customers, we have a good understanding of what is required. We need to strengthen our capabilities of handling business innovation outside our current core business in order to solve the complex challenges developing in our ecosystem and accelerate the shift together with our customers and partners. It is a very inspiring and important challenge that I am looking forward to address,” said Sundell. Sundell has a Master of Science (MSc) in Industrial Engineering and Business Management from Linköping University. He started at Scania in 2008, and has held several managerial roles within the company – both in Sweden and abroad, including managing director of Scania Growth Capital, managing director of Scania Group Industrial Thailand, and sales director Trucks – Africa and Asia-Pacific. Anna Carmo e Silva currently senior vice president Buses & Coaches at Scania CV AB will succeed Sundell as senior vice president & head of Strategy and Corporate Management. In this role she will report to Levin and will be a strategic advisor to Scania’s Executive Board.  Source: Aftermarket News

Piper Sandler Taps James Reilly as Managing Director

Investment bank Piper Sandler Companies named James Reilly managing director of its Minneapolis office. In his new role, Reilly will co-lead investment coverage of the vehicle aftermarket. Prior to joining Sandler, Reilly was managing director at Lazard, where he covered the automotive aftermarket. He has more than 10 years of investment banking experience advising public and private companies, as well as advising financial sponsors on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, leveraged buyouts, growth capital raises and financing. “Jim’s vast experience in the aftermarket provides him with first-hand knowledge of the aftermarket and makes him well-qualified to lead this growing area of our business,” said Matt Sznewajs, co-head of diversified industrials and services investment banking.  Source: Aftermarket News

Doug Brown Named Automotive Lift Institute Chairman

Doug Brown of Vehicle Service Group in Madison, Indiana, has been elected chairman of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) Board of Directors. In addition, Gary Wainwright of Weco Inc. in Bradford, Arkansas, joined the board as Associate Class representative at the lift safety organization’s annual meeting in Las Vegas on Oct. 31. The ALI Board of Directors includes representatives of vehicle lift manufacturer members, as well as a representative elected by the ALI Associate Class. ALI Associate Class membership is available to North American organizations performing vehicle lift inspections with at least one ALI Certified Lift Inspector on staff. This is Brown’s first one-year term as chairman of the board. Wainwright will serve his second non-consecutive two-year term. Joining Brown and Wainwright on the 2023 board are past chairman Jeff Kritzer of BendPak Inc. (Santa Paula, California), Brian Spikes of Challenger Lifts (Louisville, Kentucky), Allan Pavlick of Stertil-Koni (Stevensville, Maryland), Gary DiAngelo of Total Automotive Lifting Solutions (Oakville, Ontario), Stet Schanze of Gray Manufacturing Company (St. Joseph, Missouri), and ALI President R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman.  Source: Aftermarket News

Kumho Tire Promotes Denlein to President of Sales and Marketing

Kumho Tire has promoted Shawn Denlein to the president of sales and marketing for the United States, effective Oct. 31. Kumho said Denlein has more than 27 years of industry experience stemming from 1995, when he started with Yokohama Tire then transitioned to Hankook Tire and then Monro. At each company, he held various leadership and executive positions in their respective sales, marketing and merchandising divisions prior to joining Kumho Tire in 2018, as its executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Shawn is a strong leader who brings incredible business acumen as well as sales and marketing perspective to our team,” said Ed Cho, CEO of Kumho Tire USA. “His collaborative mindset and insight will continue to bring success to our sales and marketing efforts.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Self-driving startup TuSimple ousts CEO, independent directors

TuSimple Holdings, a self-driving vehicle startup that recently went through a U.S. national security review, ousted its interim chief executive officer and most of its board. Investors constituting a majority of the voting stock removed independent directors Brad Buss, Karen Francis, Michelle Sterling and Reed Werner, according to a filing Thursday. Interim CEO Ersin Yumer was replaced by Cheng Lu, who led the company until quitting in March. The moves consolidate control under co-founders Mo Chen and Xiaodi Hou, the sole continuing board member. Chen was named chairman, according to the filing, while Lu was added to the board. The past months have been marked by internal investigations and nonstop management churn at TuSimple. Lu left in March and was replaced by Hou, who was fired in late October when the board discovered some employees were working for a company with Chinese connections. Yumer took over as interim CEO at that time. Hou, who also served as chairman and chief technology officer, was removed after the board’s audit committee found that TuSimple employees spent paid hours working on matters for Hydron Inc., a firm with significant operations in China. Mo Chen started Hydron. Chen founded Hydron to develop hydrogen-powered freight trucks with autonomous capabilities. Removing Werner could raise concerns within the U.S. government. Werner was named to the board at the same time the company reached an agreement with the federal government following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. That interagency panel reviews the national security implications of foreign investments. Under the agreement, two directors left TuSimple’s board. Charles Chao and Bonnie Yi Zhang of Weibo, an affiliate of China’s Sina Corp., were forced to step down. In addition, TuSimple had to come up with a technology control plan to make sure certain data didn’t go to its Asian subsidiary that the autonomous trucking company is now selling. The investors acting to oust the board Thursday were identified in the filing as White Marble LLC, White Marble International Ltd., Gray Jade Holding Ltd., THC International Ltd. and Brown Jade Holding Ltd. Without any independent directors, TuSimple is no longer in compliance with Nasdaq listing rules, according to the filing. The company intends to get back into compliance.  Source: Automotive News

VW brand hires Google exec to head marketing

Volkswagen passenger cars brand named Nelly Kennedy as its new chief marketing officer. Kennedy is currently senior global brand marketing director for Google in California, which she joined in April 2015. She will take over the role at VW in mid-February, succeeding Jochen Sengpiehl, who has moved to Volkswagen China. Kennedy will be responsible for turning the automaker “back into a true people’s brand,” VW brand boss Thomas Schaefer said in a statement. VW brand sales and marketing chief Imelda Labbe said Kennedy’s expertise will make a “decisive contribution” to giving VW a clear brand profile in all regions and to turning the brand back into a “genuine love brand.” Before joining Google, Kennedy was Conde Nast International’s digital director from 2013-2015. She has also held multiple senior global marketing posts with sportswear brand Adidas, where she spent more than a decade, beginning as a global lifestyle PR lead, and ending as global vice president, digital and relationship marketing. Prior to entering the business world, Kennedy studied public relations at the University of Vienna. She also holds a postgraduate degree in international marketing from the University of California, Berkeley. Kennedy’s appointment is part of a wider August reorganization of VW Group’s management under the automaker’s new CEO Oliver Blume. Blume said the changes will give group brands more business responsibility.  Source: Automotive News

Cloyes Promotes Tim Murphy to SVP of Sales, US and Canada

Cloyes Gear and Products announced that Tim Murphy has been promoted to senior vice president of Sales, U.S. and Canada. An experienced sales and marketing professional with more than 38 years, Murphy joined Cloyes after graduating from John Carroll University east of Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoyed great success as district sales manager and southeastern regional sales manager in his early career with Cloyes. He later served as sales and marketing manager for Cloyes traditional and performance businesses, as well as one of their key accounts, Genuine Parts Co. After a brief stint with the Schaeffler Group, Murphy returned to Cloyes in 2018 as vice president of sales for U.S. and Canada. “Tim has played a significant role in Cloyes’ fantastic growth in recent years. His promotion is well deserved, and we look forward to Tim’s sales leadership in his new role,” said John Hanighen, president and CEO of Cloyes. Murphy will report directly to Hanighen. With this news, after a distinguished sales leadership career at Cloyes, Richard Crotzer will work with Murphy as he transitions the responsibilities of his previous role in the U.S. and Canada, as well as leading special projects and sales integration activities. Hanighen added, “Cloyes deeply appreciates Richard’s incredible sales and special project work since joining Cloyes in 2018. His driven nature and extreme focus on winning new business have helped Cloyes reach record levels of aftermarket revenue for this organization.”  Source: Aftermarket News

The Wheel Group Names Wade Kawasaki as Executive Chairman

The Wheel Group (TWG), a portfolio company of Wynnchurch Capital L.P., announced that current board member Wade Kawasaki has agreed to expand his role to executive chairman. Prior to joining TWG, Kawasaki served as president and CEO of Legendary Companies, which grew under his leadership from Coker Tire into one of the largest collector car wheel/tire and restoration parts providers in the industry. Kawasaki has also served as SEMA’s chairman of the board, was selected as SEMA’s Person of the Year, and in 2014 was inducted into SEMA’s Hall of Fame. Frank Hayes, managing partner at Wynnchurch and TWG board member, commented, “Wade has an impressive history of strong leadership in the wheel and tire industry. We are very pleased to bring his long track record of success with auto aftermarket acquisitions, import/export, supply chain management, sales and marketing to TWG.” “Wade and I have a shared vision of growing our business through acquisition and product expansion as well as unlocking additional ways to leverage our tremendous design and distribution capabilities to drive additional value and an enhanced experience for our customers, vendors and employees,” said David Williams, CEO of TWG. “Since joining our board, Wade has impressed us with his industry expertise, acquisition experience and establishment of processes and systems on which to fuel growth. We are excited to partner with him as we continue to expand the Company’s product portfolio and customer base.” Kawasaki added, “The team at TWG has built an amazing company and family of brands and I am honored to work alongside CEO David Williams and his team. Together, we can take TWG to the next level and continue its growth trajectory in an evolving market.” Neel Mayenkar, Partner at Wynnchurch, said, “We are thrilled to bring Wade onboard as Executive Chairman. We believe that his experience and leadership presents a unique, synergistic opportunity to The Wheel Group. We look forward to the significant opportunities that lie ahead.”  Source: Aftermarket News

NAMAD taps retail outsider as first new president since 2006

Damon Lester, who first joined NAMAD in 2002 as its vice president of operations, became a dealer himself in 2021 when he bought Nissan of Bowie in Maryland. He has been president of NAMAD since 2006. Hugene Fields, an industry outsider who has worked in the nonprofit space for 15 years, was named president during the organization’s convention in Miami last month. Fields, 35, takes the reins from Damon Lester, who had been at the helm since 2006. Lester, who joined NAMAD in 2002 as its vice president of operations, became a dealer himself in 2021 when he bought Nissan of Bowie in Maryland. Lester became president not long before the economy faltered and caused the number of minority-owned stores to plummet. Minorities owned 1,805 dealerships in 2005, according to NAMAD data, but the Great Recession took hold soon after and sent this tally spiraling to 875 by 2011. After that tough stretch, the numbers have been on an upward swing. The industry saw the biggest gain last year in minority-owned dealerships since 2012, adding 109 rooftops to bring the total to 1,366. Lester is now the organization’s vice chairman. He was selected as one of Automotive News’ Notable Champions of Diversity in October. “I think the industry as a whole has gotten better with understanding why diversity matters,” Lester told Automotive News in September. “We’re definitely nowhere near where we should be. We’re nowhere near close to parity. We’re still about 6 percent representation within the minority dealer body, yet 30 percent of all new cars and trucks are purchased by an ethnic minority. “So the goal of parity is still yet to be achieved. Overall, the industry is starting to put more effort and emphasis on it, particularly over the past three to five years, than it has in quite some time.”  Source: Automotive News

Mickey Thompson Names Heather Tausch Sr. Director, Marketing

Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels announced that Heather Tausch has been promoted to senior director, Marketing. She formerly served as director, Product Management. In this new role, Tausch will lead Mickey Thompson’s product and marketing teams and will be responsible for overseeing the strategy and execution for all product development and marketing activities to form holistic consumer-targeted go-to-market plans. “Heather’s deep knowledge and experience in the industry has made her an invaluable member of the Mickey Thompson team,” said Dominick Montouri, president, Mickey Thompson. In this expanded leadership role, we are confident Heather will continue to strengthen Mickey Thompson’s position in the performance aftermarket.” “As Mickey Thompson enters its 60th anniversary, I am excited to serve such an iconic motorsports brand,” said Tausch. “I am committed to keeping Mickey Thompson true to its legacy as the company continues to grow.” Since Tausch joined the company in 2020, Mickey Thompson has won four SEMA Best New Product awards over two consecutive years. She has extensive experience in various aftermarket segments, including MOMO Motorsports and Peak’s BlueDEF. Additionally, Tausch serves as both a Select Committee Member of the SEMA Wheel & Tire Council and as Mickey Thompson’s liaison as a PRI Founding Member.  Source: Aftermarket News

Holley Names Brian Appelgate Interim COO

Holley Inc. has announced the appointment of Brian Appelgate, an industry veteran and operating leader with decades of experience leading teams in the performance automotive aftermarket, to interim chief operating officer (COO). Appelgate, who has advised Holley since 2018 as head of Mergers and Acquisitions, will further align Holley’s operations in support of the company’s highest priorities and largest near-term opportunities. “Over the last two quarters, supply chain constraints have prevented us from building and shipping our products in the volumes needed to satisfy the demand we’ve seen from our enthusiast consumers and resellers. Supply chain driven production inefficiencies along with inflationary pressures on many of our costs are further depressing our margins. Brian is a performance aftermarket industry veteran with a wealth of operating experience. He is a known quantity to our team and we are excited to partner with Brian to drive near-term improvement in our operating performance,” said Tom Tomlinson, Holley’s president and CEO. As a performance automotive industry veteran, Appelgate has extensive experience in branded enthusiast consumer products, manufacturing and distribution in private, private equity and public market environments. He has served on multiple boards in the industry and is a former chairman of the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA). Prior to joining Holley in 2018, he was president and CEO of Driven Performance Brands. “Over the last four years my involvement with Holley as head of M&A has allowed me to develop a thorough understanding of the business and become well acquainted with its people. I’m excited to have the opportunity to further partner with the Holley team and look forward to driving near-term improvements in operating performance,” said Appelgate. As Interim COO, Appelgate will be focused on driving near-term improvement in end-to-end Supply Chain, Manufacturing, and Engineering functional areas.  Source: Aftermarket News

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore resigns

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore is resigning due to personal reasons, parent Tata Motors said. Bollore, 59, will step down effective Dec. 31, Tata said on Wednesday. Adrian Mardell, currently JLR’s head of finance, will take over as interim CEO. Mardell has been part of Jaguar Land Rover for 32 years and is currently a member of its executive board. JLR hired former Renault boss Bollore as CEO in 2020 to return Britain’s biggest carmaker to profit after it took a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Almost a year earlier, Bollore had been ousted as Renault CEO amid the fallout from the Carlos Ghosn scandal. Bollore has been revamping JLR’s business model in an electric-focused strategy plan called “Reimagine.” His efforts earned him a 2021 Automotive News All-Star award. Bollore’s exit comes as JLR struggles to ramp up production amid industrywide supply chain issues, as well as making meaningful headway on electrification. “The company’s transformation and acceleration towards a sustainable, profitable future as a modern luxury business is underway at great pace,” Bollore said in a statement. Back in February 2021, Bollore announced plans for Jaguar to ditch combustion engines completely by 2025, and for Land Rover to introduce electrified variants beginning a year earlier. The carmaker hasn’t given much further detail on its plans such as where it’ll build electric models or where it’ll source batteries from. In May, Bloomberg News reported JLR was in talks with Northvolt AB and SVolt Energy Technology Co. about supplying batteries for a range of EVs it may assemble in Slovakia.  Source: Automotive News

RealTruck Names New CEO

Aftermarket truck parts and accessories manufacturer and online retailer RealTruck Inc. tapped Carl-Martin Lindahl as its new CEO, effective Nov. 28. He will replace long-serving CEO, Bill Reminder, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Lindahl will lead RealTruck as it “executes on its vision to become the ultimate destination for all truck and off-roading enthusiasts by building upon its innovation experience to expand into new product lines, delivering high-quality consumer engagement across the platform, and leveraging technology to provide new business building services in support of their wholesale customers and partners,” the company says. “Carl-Martin has an impressive background leading multi-channel manufacturing brands, and a proven track record of successfully building world class organizations and teams through the use of technology and innovation,” said Marc Magliacano, chairman of RealTruck’s Board of Directors and a managing partner at L Catterton. “We thank Bill for his nearly two decades of service to the company and we are thrilled to welcome Carl-Martin to the RealTruck family. We are confident that Carl-Martin has the experience and strategic vision to build upon RealTruck’s legacy of industry leadership and success to further expand and grow our superior brand, product and distribution platform globally.” Lindahl joins RealTruck after four years as CEO of SVP Worldwide, which sells under the SINGER, HUSQVARNA VIKING, and PFAFF brands. Prior to SVP Worldwide, Lindahl led KitchenAid, a wholly owned, independently run subsidiary of the Whirlpool Corp. and was vice president overseeing products, brands and engineering for Whirlpool in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Source: Aftermarket News

NGK Spark Plugs Names 2 to Leadership Team

Megan McDonald, an NGK associate for over 23 years, has been promoted to general manager of corporate planning. In this newly created role, McDonald will serve as a leadership team member and be responsible for the successful execution of NGK’s critical business initiatives from planning through implementation, expediting NGK’s decision-making process, creating transparency, and optimizing its risk management. “I am pleased to announce that Megan McDonald has accepted the general manager of corporate planning position,” said NGK Director Strategic Planning and Administration, Paul Abbott. “Megan has played a vital role in developing and implementing the Project Management Team, adopting a technical APQP skill set to support corporate and enterprise-wide projects. We are excited to have her in this expanded role as her skill set will be further utilized to support our company’s risk management structure.” Alex Sanchez Salazar has joined the company as general manager of internal audit. In his new role, NGK says Sanchez Salazar is responsible for providing consult, audit and advisory services to effectively identify and address significant risks to the company across all business units. Sanchez Salazar joins NGK Spark Plugs with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing finance and compliance. “Alex Sanchez Salazar comes to us with extensive expertise in finance of the manufacturing sector,” said Ron Laboda, NGK vice president of finance and IT. “I am excited to have Alex join NGK and lead our Internal Audit team. I know his strong financial acumen will safeguard our company assets minimizing risk while continuously improving our internal controls and business processes.”  Source: Aftermarket News

Stellantis to buy software developer aiMotive in autonomous vehicle push

Stellantis has agreed to buy aiMotive, a developer of advanced artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle driving software, to advance its technology development efforts, the company said in a statement. No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed. The acquisition enhances Stellantis’ artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle core technology, expands its global talent pool, and boosts the mid-term development of its all-new STLA AutoDrive platform, the company added in the statement. The deal also supports Stellantis’ ambition to generate around 20 billion euros ($20.75 billion) in additional annual revenues by 2030 from software-enabled product offerings and subscriptions. Budapest-based aiMotive has offices in Germany, the U.S. and Japan and employs more than 200 employees worldwide, including engineers with advanced artificial intelligence and AV expertise. The startup will operate as a subsidiary of Stellantis, maintaining its operational independence and culture. Founder László Kishonti will remain as CEO. Kishonti is a 2019 Automotive News Europe Rising Star. The startup will continue selling three areas of its technology product portfolio, including aiData, aiSim and aiWare, to other partners, the statement said.  Source: Automotive News

Cooper Standard Realigns Global Leadership Team

Cooper Standard has announced the realignment of certain responsibilities within its global leadership team to create greater management synergies and focus on key strategic initiatives. The following changes are effective immediately. Patrick Clark, senior vice president and managing director – global automotive, will assume responsibility for the procurement function. This change brings closer alignment between Cooper Standard’s functions to drive the financial turnaround of the automotive business and improve its response to the dynamic automotive market. Joanna Totsky has been appointed senior vice president, chief transformation officer in addition to her role as chief legal officer and secretary. In this expanded role, she will continue to lead legal and compliance functions, while also taking on responsibility for the implementation of business transformation activities for long-term value creation. Chris Couch, senior vice president and chief technology officer, will fully focus on developing and commercializing advancements in materials science, product technology and manufacturing processes. Couch will continue expanding Cooper Standard’s product portfolio for electrified vehicles and will maintain the company’s world-class technical support to customers, both of which continue to differentiate Cooper Standard. He also will drive the expansion of the company’s non-automotive businesses, including industrial products, footwear and artificial intelligence (AI). “This team of talented leaders is well-aligned to continue addressing the business challenges of today, while also positioning Cooper Standard to successfully execute our accelerating value strategy,” said Jeffrey Edwards, chairman and CEO, Cooper Standard. “Our team is laser-focused on optimizing our business as we work to drive increasing long-term value not only for our customers, but for all our stakeholder groups.” With more than 28 years of automotive industry experience, Clark has held diverse leadership positions at Cooper Standard, including engineering, operations, program management, finance, strategy and sales. In addition to his current responsibilities leading the company’s manufacturing and commercial functions, Clark will assume responsibility for global procurement as he works to continue to enhance synergies between the commercial and procurement functions. Totsky brings more than 25 years of global experience of successfully executing transformational initiatives in the automotive and financial service industries to her expanded role. She will assume the responsibility for the execution of the company’s optimization strategies and lead initiatives to right-size the business for today’s markets. With more than 21 years of experience in global manufacturing, P&L, and research and development, Couch provides the critical forward-looking leadership needed to help advance the company’s innovative offerings to new heights. Relevant technology domains include materials science, product design, manufacturing process technology and AI.  Source: Aftermarket News

SEMA Names VP, Membership, Edu., Research, Councils & Networks

SEMA has hired Zane Clark as vice president of Membership, Education, Research and Councils & Networks (MERC). Clark, who currently serves as CEO of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) North America, has 23 years of automotive aftermarket leadership experience, including more than 10 years with SEMA from 2010-2020. He will lead SEMA’s member services and benefits programs effective January 2023. “I’m excited to rejoin the SEMA team,” said Clark. “SEMA is a world-class organization that offers valuable benefits to its members and the automotive community. It’s an honor to be part of the team and the industry.” Zane served SEMA in 2010 as a council director, working directly with volunteer leaders in various niches. He transitioned after three years to lead SEMA’s Education Department, where he directed the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, grew the SEMA Show Education Program, and expanded the SEMA Show Student Program. In 2020, Clark joined SAMPE, where he served as the organization’s CEO and executive director. Clark guided SAMPE through the pandemic and grew the society’s membership by 23%. His team also produces two international trade shows for SAMPE, including Composites and Advanced Material Expo (CAMX), which was honored as a Gold 100 Show by Trade Show Executive (TSE). Zane is a strategic and creative thinker who knows and understands associations, member-based organizations, as well as the automotive industry,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA President and CEO. “We’ve seen the value that Zane brings to an organization first-hand, and we’re excited to welcome Zane back to SEMA and serving our members.” Clark holds a Bachelor’s of Administration (BA) in Philosophy from Cal Poly Humboldt, a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Purdue University Global, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE). He begins his role as vice president at SEMA on Jan. 4, 2023.  Source: Aftermarket News

Lithia Motors hires Adam Chamberlain, former Aston Martin Americas president

Lithia Motors Inc. has hired former Aston Martin Americas and Mercedes-Benz USA executive Adam Chamberlain as regional president of operations for the growing auto retailer’s East region. Chamberlain’s arrival at Lithia comes just weeks after his departure as president of Aston Martin’s Americas region was announced. Chamberlain had joined the British ultraluxury brand in mid-November 2021. Chamberlain was previously vice president of sales and product management at Mercedes-Benz USA. He was named an Automotive News Rising Star in 2017. Lithia on Tuesday said Chamberlain is responsible for overseeing its operations teams in its East region,plus supporting network development. “Adam has over 25 years in the automotive world and brings a deep understanding of national and international markets,” Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement. “Adam’s proactive and collaborative leadership combined with an acute love for store operations will fit well alongside our regional presidents. His passion and understanding of our industry and the full customer vehicle lifecycle will be a key driver of our organization’s omnichannel global growth and in reaching our 2025 plan.” Chamberlain, based in Atlanta, will report to Lithia COO Chris Holzshu, the company said. Lithia, of Medford, Ore., ranked No. 2 on Automotive News’ most recent list of the top 150 dealership groups, retailing 260,738 new vehicles in 2021. But Lithia is on pace to take the No. 1 spot long held by AutoNation Inc. Through the first nine months of 2022, Lithia has a 33,540 lead in new-vehicle sales over AutoNation, though a small number of Lithia’s figures include Canadian sales.  Source: Automotive News

Horizon Global Appoints John Kennedy Interim President and CEO

Horizon Global Corporation announced that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) appointed John C. Kennedy as interim president and chief executive officer. Kennedy will continue to serve as Chair of the Board. This appointment follows the Board’s acceptance of Terrence G. Gohl’s resignation from his executive positions and director post. “We remain focused on our strategic alternatives process, with our clear objective being to enhance shareholder value,” said Kennedy. “We look forward to providing an update on this process when appropriate. Further, as we assess the best long-term path for the company, we are determined to leverage our best-in-class products and iconic brands to position Horizon Global for sustainable growth and a return to historical profitability levels.”  Source: Aftermarket News

President & CEO Named for Continental Automotive N. America

Continental announced that Aruna Anand has been named the new president and CEO of Continental’s Automotive group sector in North America, effective Dec. 1. She also will retain her current role as head of the Architecture and Networking business area for the North American region of Continental Automotive. In this role, Anand is responsible for all global architecture and networking business activities that support customers based out of North America. Since joining the company in 1997, Anand has held numerous leadership positions across the different business areas of the Continental Automotive group sector. She was head of Software for Gasoline Engine and Transmissions Systems for the Electronic Controls business unit within the company’s then Powertrain division. She also led the Wireless Product Group Engineering within the Connected Car Networking business unit of Continental’s Vehicle Networking and Information business area. Prior to being named as the head of Architecture and Networking, Anand was responsible for leading Continental Engineering Services, an independently operating business unit that offers comprehensive engineering services. “Aruna brings an outstanding combination of experience and talent to the President and CEO Automotive North America position,” said Nikolai Setzer, CEO, Continental AG. “She is a respected leader and is a technical expert in many areas that are the focus of our future growth. Aruna’s dedication to our customers and our employees will help guide the success of Continental in the important North American market.” Anand earned her master’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Oakland University and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Anna University, in Chennai, India. In 2020, she was recognized by Automotive News as one of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive industry. In 2018, Anand was honored with the prestigious Automotive News Rising Star award. She was also recently recognized at the Women of Color Awards Gala and received the Professional Achievement in Industry award. “It is an honor to be selected as Automotive President and CEO for North America,” Anand said. “I look forward to leading our talented team toward a bright future and providing our customers with leading technological solutions.”  Source: Aftermarket News

SMI Announces Gary McCoy as New Executive Director

The executive committee of the Spring Manufacturers Institute (SMI) has announced the appointment of Gary McCoy as the association’s new executive director. McCoy will take over for Lynne Carr, who will remain with the organization until her retirement after the 2023 SMI Annual Meeting, April 22-25, at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Carr began working part-time for SMI in 1995 as an administrative assistant and since 2013 she has served in her current role as executive director. McCoy will officially start with SMI Dec. 1 and will work with Carr through the annual meeting to ensure a smooth transition. “On behalf of the executive committee and the board of directors, I want to thank Lynne for her tireless efforts on behalf of our association,” said SMI president Gene Huber, Jr. of Winamac Coil Spring. “The many traditions and standards that she set and upheld over the years have been impeccable. She will be missed.” McCoy has more than 30 years of experience in marketing communications, public relations and association management. He is the founder and president of Fairway Communications in Elgin, Illinois, and has been the managing editor of Springs magazine since 2008. He is the former director of communications for the Automotive Service Industry Association and a former president of the Automotive Communications Council. “We are more than pleased to announce that Gary McCoy has accepted the position as executive director of SMI,” said Huber on behalf of the SMI executive committee that includes Don Jacobson III, Newcomb Spring, vice president; David DeVoe, Plymouth Spring, treasurer; Dave Deerwester, The Yost Superior Company, at-large; and Bert Goering, Precision Coil Spring, past president. “Gary brings not only a professionalism that comes from his many years of experience with trade associations, but the ability to listen to the needs of an association, as well. We look forward to the innovative ideas and technical savvy that Gary will bring to his new role with SMI.” Since 2001, McCoy has been a member of the automotive scholarship committee at that awarded 471 scholarships in 2022 for a record total of $731,350. In 2009, McCoy received the prestigious Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award. He earned a B.A. degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Iowa State University and holds the professional development designation of Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) from the University of the Aftermarket. “It will be a challenge to follow in the footsteps of an industry legend like Lynne that I have had the privilege of working with for the past 14 years,” said McCoy. “I am honored to be selected by the leadership team of SMI to serve in this new role and I look forward to the challenges ahead. I believe SMI has the opportunity to grow in its outstanding offerings of business and technical information to reach even deeper into the industry. I have developed many friendships with SMI members during my 14 years as editor of Springs, which has allowed me to understand the challenges that springmakers and their suppliers face.” Carr’s 27-year history with SMI and the spring industry, includes her work in helping the association organize and operate the Metal Engineering eXpo, a three-day education and trade show that started with the inaugural event in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2015. In addition, she has served as the advertising manager for Springs during her entire career and has been responsible for running SMI on a daily basis and organizing all SMI events. In addition, she has served as an ex-officio member of the SMI executive committee. “Lynne has worn many different hats in her time with SMI and has become a beloved friend and colleague to many in the spring industry,” said Huber. “We are planning a big send-off party in Orlando to thank her for her loyal and faithful service.”  Source: Aftermarket News

May Mobility names senior Intel executive as COO

Kathy Winter, a senior executive who previously worked in the autonomous vehicle technology divisions of Intel, Motorola and Delphi, will become the new COO at May Mobility. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based developer of autonomous ride-hail vehicles and shuttles said Winter will focus on putting May Mobility’s plans for self-driving shuttles and ride-hailing vehicles into action. Winter, 59, will also develop business strategies and partnerships with other companies to expand May Mobility’s global footprint. The venture arms of Toyota and BMW are major May Mobility investors. The appointment was effective Monday. May Mobility has operated without a COO since Alisyn Malek left the position in a management reorganization at the start of 2020. Her departure came a week after former CTO Steve Vozar left the company. Both are May Mobility co-founders. May Mobility’s strategy is to fill in the gaps between other forms of transportation with autonomous shuttles. For example, it would provide links between public transit and urban dining districts. The company calls such a service “microtransit,” which it envisions as shared, on-demand public transportation that uses an app to book rides in selected service zones. “The zones are designated by a transit agency, often where buses are challenged. Services are provided within the zone and to/from major transit lines, and typically use minivans or large vans that are big enough to share and small enough to be used in residential neighborhoods,” the company said in a recent blog post. Winter in 2015 was named to the Automotive News list of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry. She joined May Mobility from Intel, where she was a vice president and general manager of the company’s autonomous transportation and infrastructure division. Winter headed the autonomous vehicle labs, global product strategy, and research and development for Intel’s advanced driver-assist systems, infotainment and automated driving businesses. During her tenure at Delphi, she established the company’s autonomous vehicle lab. At Motorola, Winter held senior R&D and business roles in the company’s automotive telematics, cellular infrastructure and mobile phones divisions. “I am delighted to join May Mobility and believe May’s groundbreaking autonomous vehicle technology is poised to enable the cities of the future,” Winter said. May Mobility is already at work partnering with established auto industry players. In July 2022, it closed out a $111 million Series C funding round, capped off with an investment from State Farm Ventures, a subsidiary of the auto insurance company of the same name. Other contributors to that funding round include SoftBank, Next Century Ventures and 10x Group. State Farm is the second major insurer to invest in May Mobility, joining Tokyo-based Tokio Marine. May Mobility also has a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. to work on the company’s Autono-MaaS vehicle platform that underpins its Sienna minivan, and is integrating its self-driving systems on Toyota’s e-Palette, a battery-electric vehicle expected to someday operate in Toyota’s Woven City — a prototype city of the future. “Our traction, both commercially and with our technology, is enabling us to scale and attract high-caliber talent even as others in the tech space pull back,” said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility. “Kathy’s experience in the AV industry and growing billion-dollar businesses will be invaluable.”  Source: Automotive News

GRI Appoints Michael Connor as U.S. Director of Sales

GRI has announced the appointment of Michael Connor as director of sales for its U.S. operations. A seasoned professional with in-depth experience in specialty tires, Connor will oversee the sales, marketing, operations and customer service efforts in North America, covering its material handling, agriculture and construction product portfolios. The appointment comes as GRI steps up its efforts and its resource portfolio to significantly ramp up capacity building and aggressively capture greater potential in the market. “We are delighted to have Michael on board to head our operations in the US,” said Prabhash Subasinghe, managing director, GRI. “The US is a significant market for us, and Michael joins us at a time when we are at a crucial inflection point in our 20-year business to pivot the company into a new trajectory of growth. With his greater than three decade long experience in the specialty tire sector, he will play a vital role in our endeavors to provide best in class services to our customers, and drive GRI’s ambition to become a leading player in the US market”.  Connor is credited with handling some of the USA’s finest brands in the specialty tire market. He has worked in various capacities in multiple companies during his long and distinguished career in the industry. Notably, Connor has held key positions such as president and CEO Global Tire Supply, LLC, director of original equipment sales GPX International, Inc., and, director of OE BKT Tire America. Immediately prior to GRI, Connor was working in the capacity of regional operations manager at McCarthy Tire Company.  Source: Aftermarket News

All Star Auto Parts Announces Names Andrew Sexton CEO

All Star Auto Parts, a specialty distributor of alternative automotive parts and a portfolio company of Atlantic Street Capital (ASC), has named Andrew Sexton as CEO. As part of a planned leadership transition, Sexton succeeds Matt Immerfall, who will transition to the company’s board of directors. The company says Immerfall also will continue to assist in All Star’s M&A efforts and maintain the company’s growth-minded and customer-centric culture. All Star has completed several acquisitions over the past three years, including in the alternative wheel part space, to transform All Star beyond its traditional auto lights business and into a leading multi-category alternative automotive part supplier. The company has complemented its M&A growth with rapid organic growth and a new nationwide footprint extending into all major U.S. metro markets. Immerfall commented, “Andrew has extensive expertise growing global automotive manufacturing and related distribution businesses, having held leadership positions based in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific. His experience within the automotive supply chain, track record of scaling the operations at his predecessor businesses and aggressive growth mindset made him the perfect leader for All-Star’s next phase of growth. We look forward to Andrew collaborating with leadership, sales, and customers to help deliver an even richer, more refined product line. I will remain part of All Star’s story through my new role as executive chairman to ensure the key elements of passion and service that have made All Star successful to date remain a focus and priority of the Company going forward.” Phil Druce, partner of Atlantic Street Capital, added, “We are pleased to announce this leadership transition at a time of the company’s ongoing expansion. Andrew knows the industry and brings a differentiated set of capabilities to lead All Star’s next chapter of growth as a result of his decades of experience as an operations leader and strategist. He succeeds Matt who has built All Star over the past 13 years as CEO, and we look forward to our continued partnership in his new role.” Sexton has a combined 20-plus years of experience with Federal-Mogul, as well as with Tenneco following its acquisition of Federal-Mogul. He joined Federal-Mogul in 2000 and held senior positions in quality engineering, lean manufacturing, manufacturing and aftermarket parts. He most recently served as group vice president and general manager for Tenneco’s Americas Aftermarket, Motorparts Division. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and received an M.B.A. degree from Michigan State University.  Source: Aftermarket News

Solid Power CEO steps down

Solid Power Inc., the solid-state battery startup that went public in a reverse merger last year, said its chief executive officer Doug Campbell is stepping down. Solid Power’s board appointed company president David Jansen to serve as interim CEO while it searches for a permanent replacement, the Louisville, Colorado-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Solid Power is one of a pack of startups including QuantumScape Corp. and SES Holdings Pte that have been pursuing solid-state batteries, an innovation promising to dramatically speed up electric-vehicle adoption by providing automakers with a safer, cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Solid Power has an agreement to test its battery cells with Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG, both of which have invested in the company. Campbell noted on the company’s third-quarter earnings call earlier this month that while it had delivered sample cells to Ford and BMW on schedule, a tight labor market and quality issues with some of its commodity materials had put a strain on its plans. Campbell, who co-founded the startup in 2011, is relinquishing his board seat but said he’ll remain a “significant shareholder” in the company, according to the statement. Shares of Solid Power have tumbled 51 percent this year to $4.29, and in aftermarket trading fell about 1 percent as of 5:25 p.m. in New York.  Source: Automotive News

Speedway Motorsports Promotes Industry Veteran Matt Greci

Speedway Motorsports has announced that motorsports industry executive Matt Greci has been promoted to senior vice president and general manager at Nashville Superspeedway, replacing Erik Moses, who leaves Dec. 2 to become executive director of the Fiesta Bowl. “Our company is very fortunate to have a senior executive with experience not only with our company but already located in the Nashville market,” said Speedway Motorsports president and CEO Marcus Smith. “It gives me great pleasure to announce Matt Greci as our new senior vice president and general manager at Nashville Superspeedway. “Matt started at Charlotte Motor Speedway as an intern and through hard work and dedication, successfully moved through a variety of positions before becoming the vice president of events at Charlotte and then vice president of events and operations at Nashville Superspeedway. We look forward to supporting Matt and our Nashville Superspeedway team as we move toward the 2023 Ally 400 NASCAR race weekend, continuing the commitment to fans and community that Erik established.” No stranger to Speedway Motorsports, Greci relocated to Nashville shortly after the company acquired the 1.33-mile speedway as part of its purchase of Dover Motorsports in 2021. Prior to that, Greci spent nearly 16 years at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he began his career as a sales department intern, then joined the speedway full-time as the track rental and suite coordinator for corporate sales. Greci moved to the events department in 2008, working his way from events manager to vice president of events. “When I started with Speedway Motorsports as an intern, I never could have imagined having the opportunity to lead a team as passionate, dedicated and hard-working for the fans as our staff at Nashville Superspeedway,” Greci said. “My family and I fell in love quickly with Nashville and already see this community as ‘home’. “I’ve been fortunate to have some tremendous mentors at Speedway Motorsports and in the entertainment business,” Greci added. “They have helped me learn and grow both personally and professionally. I’m humbled to have the chance to put those lessons to use and build on the remarkable events at Nashville Superspeedway.” During his tenure at Charlotte, Greci earned recognition as the CMS Employee of the Year in 2013. He also received the company’s highest honor, the prestigious Speedway Motorsports O. Bruton Smith Award in 2018, while managing event production at zMAX Dragway, The Dirt Track and the legendary superspeedway.  A native of Granby, Conn., Greci earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from Wingate University in 2006.  Source: Aftermarket News

FullSpeed Automotive Names Sarah Hamp Chief Marketing Officer

FullSpeed Automotive, home to flagship brands Grease Monkey, SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service, and Kwik Kar, has announced that Sarah Hamp has been appointed to chief marketing officer of the company, effective December 12, 2022.  Bringing more than two decades of marketing experience at some of the country’s leading automotive repair and quick lube brands, Hamp will play a key role in supporting FullSpeed’s next phase of accelerated growth and further solidify its position as an industry leader. As FullSpeed’s CMO, Hamp will oversee all brand and digital marketing efforts. She will also lead customer experience strategies for the FullSpeed family of brands, with a strong focus on consumer insights and digital engagement. She will report directly to Rob Lynch, CEO of FullSpeed Automotive. “We are so pleased to have someone with Sarah’s caliber, experience, and passion joining our team, and look forward to the enhancements she will help lead in our customer acquisition and retention strategies as we continue to grow the company,” said Lynch. “Her expertise for marketing in the aftermarket repair industry is invaluable and will help lead our team as we look to 2023.” Hamp is a proven marketing executive, whose career has spanned leadership positions with Just Brakes Total Car Care, Pep Boys, and Jiffy Lube. She has extensive experience driving strategy, execution, analysis, and ongoing optimization of integrated marketing programs. Hamp was most recently the vice president of marketing at Allied Lube, an award-winning Jiffy Lube franchise. In this role, she led marketing activities for the company and evolved the marketing strategy to drive scale and alignment to support the customer experience and growth for the organization. Prior to Jiffy Lube, Hamp was vice president of marketing of Just Brakes, where she led key strategic efforts, including a rebranding strategy to support the conversion from brake repair to full service automotive repair, and oversaw the marketing and customer service teams. “FullSpeed is quickly becoming an industry leader, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team,” said Hamp. “I believe FullSpeed’s potential is unlimited, and I look forward to working with the entire executive team and franchise community to build and accelerate the brand’s momentum in the months and years to come.”  Source: Aftermarket News

NTN Announces Retirement of Industry Icon Kevin Judge

NTN Bearing Corporation of America has announced that effective Dec. 31, Kevin Judge will retire from his role as brand ambassador for NTN’s Automotive Aftermarket business unit, formally ending his professional tenure with NTN. An industry veteran, Judge joined NTN in 2015 as the eastern regional sales manager. In 2018, he tookon the role of vice president, sales & marketing – Automotive Aftermarket, and was the driving force behind the growth of NTN’s automotive aftermarket business unit. In January 2022, Judge transitioned to his current role as a brand ambassador, where he leveraged his industry experience to provide intelligence and guidance. “On behalf of the entire NTN team, I want to thank Kevin for his remarkable dedication and leadership,” said Pete Eich, president and CEO, NTN Bearing Corporation of America. “Under Kevin’s leadership, our automotive aftermarket business achieved exceptional growth and success, and his contributions to our business and culture will endure for years to come.” Prior to joining NTN, Judge worked in sales, marketing and management executive roles in the automotive aftermarket for more than 40 years. He is well-respected in the aftermarket, and throughout his career has been an active fixture in many automotive organizations, including the Auto Care Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and the Automotive Sales Council, to name a few. Judge also has been a continuous presence with NTN’s aftermarket customers in both the automotive and heavy-duty channels and was inducted into the Federated Auto Parts Vendor Hall of Fame in 2020. “NTN’s automotive aftermarket business owes a great debt to Kevin,” said Charles E. Harris, vice president of Automotive Aftermarket, NTN. “Having Kevin remain on as the brand ambassador for the last year has been integral to enabling a smooth transition for the leadership of our team. I personally want to thank Kevin for being a trusted advisor and wish him a long, happy and well-deserved retirement.” Please join all of us at NTN in congratulating Mr. Kevin Judge on his outstanding career with NTN and wishing him the best as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.  Source: Aftermarket News

GSF Car Parts Taps Sukhbir Kapoor as President & COO

GSF Car Parts announced Sukhbir Kapoor has been appointed as its President and COO. He will also serve as an executive director of Canadian parent company Uni-Select Plc, effective January 3, 2023. In his new role, Sukhbir will lead GSF, a business that currently runs 180 branches across the UK, supplying independent garages, national chains and retail customers with parts for all vehicles. GSF says its branch network is supported by a National Distribution Centre in Birmingham and specialist support teams in Birmingham, Chester and Swansea. The business also operates national garage programme Servicesure. Sukhbir has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket industry and is a highly respected leader in the sector, having held senior positions in Euro Car Parts, LKQ Europe, Tenneco and Digraph Transport, according to GSF Car Parts. “We are delighted to welcome Sukhbir to Uni-Select Group and GSF. Sukhbir is a proven leader with a track record for execution and value creation in the UK automotive aftermarket,” said Brian McManus, Uni-Select executive chair and CEO. “He brings the kind of experience, leadership skillset and vision that will be pivotal assets for GSF as we seek to grow the business in 2023 and beyond, delivering a best-in-class service for customers and supporting our industry as it adapts to the evolution of the market.” GSF is the lead member of The Parts Alliance Group and both an active and founder member of Nexus Automotive, the international trading group.  Source: Aftermarket News

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