By on December 7, 2016

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Volvo has named Henrik Green as its new head of researching and development, replacing Peter Mertens, who was usurped by Audi in November.

Green, 43, entered Volvo’s executive branch in October as the senior vice president of sales, production planning, and customer service. Volvo says the vacant position, which was created for Green specifically, will be filled eventually. With Mertens gone, Volvo is depending upon Green to implement plug-in hybrid drivetrains throughout the company’s fleet and develop an autonomous vehicle by 2021.  

Mertens’s unexpected move to Audi created a vacuum the Swedish automaker needed to fill quickly, though the company seems confident in its choice. “Henrik is ideally qualified to lead our team of highly talented engineers around the world as we enter the second phase of Volvo’s transformation,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in an official statement.

That team of engineers totals around 6,500 people, many of whom have overseen the transformation of Volvo Cars’ technical operations after the company was acquired by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding in 2010. However, leaving Ford for Geely seems to have worked out favorably for Volvo, considering it is preparing itself for the third consecutive year of record sales.

Last year, Volvo’s global sales surpassed 503,000 units — a number the automaker expects to top this year as it pursues a goal of growing its global volume to 800,000 vehicles by 2020.

“There has never been a more exciting time to work in automotive research and development and there has never been a more exciting time to do so at Volvo. The industry is changing and I intend to make sure that Volvo leads that change,” Green said in the statement.

Green joined Volvo in 1996 and has worked as the company’s vice president of product strategy and vehicle line management in Sweden and China.

He has a background in research and development, powertrain development and other advanced areas of engineering such as software and control systems. Green was also one of the leading figures behind Volvo’s decision to move ahead using only four- and three-cylinder engines.

Volvo Henrik Green

[Images Michael Sheehan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0); Volvo]

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