Tag: Executives

By on October 17, 2017

nissan emblem badge logo

Nissan has a new senior vice president in charge of U.S. sales and marketing. Dan Mohnke, the company’s former vice president of strategy and digital acceleration, was promoted to the role previously held by Christian Meunier.

Heading to Infiniti, Meunier will serve as the brand’s vice president for global marketing and sales operations. The position was created exclusively to help the brand’s expansion into new markets. Meunier will report directly to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company and senior vice president of Nissan’s global division. Meanwhile, Mohnke will report to José Muñoz, chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Co.  (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

Stephan Winkelmann Audi RS5 - Image: AudiAccording to a report in Autocar, the rise through Volkswagen Group ranks accomplished by Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann will continue in 2018.

Formerly a Fiat employee, the 52-year-old Winkelmann became famous in the auto industry during his decade-long run as president and CEO of Lamborghini. Winkelmann then took over at Audi’s Quattro performance division in March 2016 before changing its name to Audi Sport. But the Rome native’s tenure at Audi Sport will reportedly be cut short by Volkswagen Group’s need to fill the lead position at its flagship brand, Bugatti.

If Autocar’s sources are right, look for Winkelmann to take over at Bentley in 2019, as well. Makes you wonder: Winkelmann has climbed from Fiat to Lamborghini to Audi Sport to Bugatti and Bentley. What’s next? (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2017

BMW Ian Roberts - Image: BMWAfter a near decade-long run at the helm of BMW Group’s sales and marketing department, Ian Robertson is retiring.

Taking over from the Englishman Robertson will be Pieter Nota, a Netherlands native who is anything but representative of the BMW establishment, every inch not automotive industry insider. Nota comes from Royal Philips, where you buy your electric razors, and formerly worked at Beiersdorf (where you buy your Nivea moisturizer) and Unilever, which fills your grocery store shelves with Axe, Hellmann’s, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dove.

I can’t believe it’s not butter a board member. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2017

VW of America Werner Eichhorn - Image: VolkswagenOne month ago, former Hyundai Motor America sales vice president Derrick Hatami departed Hyundai and ended up in a similar role at Volkswagen of America: executive vice president for sales and marketing.

Hatami moved into his new office on June 12, 2017. Less than two months from now, and two years after Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal erupted in September 2015, Hatami’s new boss will move into his new office. Imported from Skoda, Werner Eichhorn moves to Volkswagen’s North American region as the chief sales and marketing officer.

Together with Hinrich Woebcken, who became CEO of Volkswagen in North America in April 2016, seven months after #dieselgate broke, Hatami and Werner Eichhorn form the nucleus of an all-new sales team at Volkswagen of America.

And not a moment too soon. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2017

Capitol Hyundai San Francisco dealer - Image: Hyundai

Updated at 10:00pm on June 6 with response from Hyundai.

Derrick Hatami, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of sales for less than two years, has been removed from Hyundai’s leadership team as of today, June 6, 2017.

After record annual volume in the 2016 calendar year, Hyundai’s U.S. sales have been falling fast throughout 2017. Year-over-year, Hyundai volume declined in each of the last six months, including an 18-percent decline in May 2017.

That decline enabled partner brand Kia to outsell Hyundai for the first time in the brands’ U.S. history, evidently a source of embarrassment for Hyundai. Having already forced out the company’s U.S. CEO, Dave Zuchowski, just before Christmas last year after Hyundai’s rapid growth stalled, Derrick Hatami’s departure leaves a hole that will be filled in the interim by Hyundai’s southern regional general manager, Sam Brnovich, according to Automotive News.

Last week, Hyundai wasn’t short on excuses for the company’s poor May performance. This week, the excuses were apparently not good enough. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2017

2017 Mini Countryman, Image: MiniIn Oliver Heilmer, BMW Group’s Mini brand will finally have a design chief after being rudderless for much of the last year.

Anders Warming, Heilmer’s predecessor, resigned the post last summer. The 42-year-old Heilmer, who makes his way up the corporate ladder from BMW Designworks in California, won’t actually undertake his new role until September.

“With his design expertise and experience, Oliver Heilmer combines continuity with the freshness and vision Mini stands for,” Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, said in BMW’s official statement. In other words, Heilmer is both an insider, as part of BMW Group Design for 17 years, but also an outsider, as the BMW Designworks boss who previously held a post in interior design at the BMW brand.

Regardless, Heilmer has his work cut out for him. In the hugely important U.S. market, Mini sales in 2016 fell to a six-year low, and sales are declining further in 2017. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

Vinay Shahani Toyota VP Marketing - Image: Toyota

Vinay Shahani, a former decade-long Nissan employee, has just been poached from Volkswagen of America by Toyota.

Shahani was Volkswagen’s U.S. vice president in charge of marketing, responsible for cementing a cohesive product message after the eruption of the now infamous diesel emissions scandal that broke in September 2015.

“Things are definitely difficult for the Volkswagen brand,” Shahani told the Automotive News New York Marketing Seminar one year after Volkswagen’s wrongdoing was made public.

Shahani’s perseverance through said difficulty obviously drew the attention of Toyota Motor North America, particularly since Shahani’s resume proves he’s no mere ad man. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

image: Michael Sheehan AutoNation 2014

At least twenty upper-echelon executives have left AutoNation since the start of 2014, with the vast majority bailing within two years. Short stints with an employer and lackluster job stability may be the norm for bottom-rung millennials but senior managers with years of experience have a tendency to stick around a while.

That doesn’t necessarily mean there is something sinisterly “up” with the largest automotive retailer in the United States, but it does leave you wondering about its future. This concern was heightened after AutoNation’s chief operating officer, Bill Berman, suddenly resigned last week, not even four months after being named president.  (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

Robert Davis - Image: Mazda USA

Mazda’s U.S. senior vice president for operations has been reassigned to a role in special assignments.

It does not appear to be a promotion.

Robert Davis, who held the position for more than half a decade, will no longer oversee all operations but will rather “lead teams in the ever-growing areas of recall compliance and cybersecurity, ” as well as legislation, regulations, and compliance.

Preaching patience, Mazda’s North American CEO Masahiro Moro revealed just last summer that, “it will take Mazda two complete generations of new vehicles to fully transform itself.”

Patience may have waned, however, as the U.S. auto industry surged to an all-time record sales high in 2016 and Mazda volume tumbled 7 percent, driving the brand’s market share down to just 1.7 percent. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2016

Matthias Müller

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller is expected to cave to shareholder and labor pressure today and ask that his management board agree to trim their bonuses by 30 percent, insider sources have told Reuters.

Will it satisfy dealers and vehicle owners stuck with depreciated rolling stock? Not. Bloody. Likely.

The request, if it comes to pass, comes after workers unions and the state of Lower Saxony (Volkswagen’s home and its second-largest shareholder) protested the idea of senior management receiving full compensation while the diesel emissions scandal continues to rage.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

Marchionne - Picture courtesy theglobeandmail.com

Like Al Pacino in “The Godfather 2,” Sergio Marchionne’s move to insulate himself further and tap future successors has claimed another victim. On Monday, former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich resigned from the automaker, days after he was replaced as head of Fiat by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.

Stoicevich was a longtime FCA employee, heading up the automaker’s California sales office and former head of Jeep operations before that.

His departure is the latest in a company-wide shakeup to consolidate most North American brands between fewer brand chiefs.

(Read More…)

By on July 21, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra Testifies Before Senate Committee About GM's Recalls

A U.S. Senate committee has shot down a number of auto safety measures including one that would hold executives criminally accountable for not disclosing known automotive defects, reports the New York Times.

“Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., according to the story. He introduced many of the failed provisions.

Another proposal that would have made it illegal for used-car dealers to sell vehicles with outstanding recalls was rejected by the committee.

(Read More…)

By on February 23, 2015
Takanobu Ito

Takanobu Ito

Hans Greimel of the Automotive News is reporting that Takanobu Ito will be replaced in June by Takahiro Hachigo as president and CEO of Honda Motor Company. Ito’s replacement comes after a spate of recalls in its home market of Japan led to a delay in a number of new product launches, followed by the even more image corroding recall of millions of cars worldwide due to Takata supplied airbags that can detonate which have been linked to six deaths.

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2014

US Department of Justice

At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish.

(Read More…)

By on April 22, 2014
Mark Fields, Ford Group VP Derrek Kuzak, Bill Ford Jr., Alan Mulally

Mark Fields, Ford Group VP Derrek Kuzak, Bill Ford Jr., Alan Mulally

Two of the most reliable reporters on the automotive beat, Karl Henkel and David Shepardson of the Detroit News, have reported that their sources confirm that Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will step down later this year and that Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer, will be named to the CEO position. Earlier on Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Ford “may announce the moves as soon as May 1.” Ford’s annual corporate meeting is scheduled for May 8 in Delaware, with the FoMoCo board of directors meeting the prior day. Mulally, 68, has been with Ford since 2006 and he’s generally credited with successfully guiding the automaker through the troubled waters that brought crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler to bankruptcy and a government bailout.

The move is seen by most as a formality and that Fields, 53, has been assured of replacing Mulally since he was promoted from President of the Americas to COO in late 2012. Mulally has previously said publicly that he plans to remain as Ford’s CEO through at least 2014. Other than a stint at IBM, Fields has been at Ford for most of his adult life, having joined the company 25 years ago.

A Ford Motor Company spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the reports.

So that’s the boilerplate news. In the background of the story, though… (Read More…)

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