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News about people on the auto scene

Ken Block Dies in Snowmobile Accident UPDATED

Professional rally driver Ken Block died in a snowmobile accident in Utah on Monday.

He was 55 years old.

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Guyton New Mazda North American Ops President

Appointed Mazda North American Operations (NAO) president and CEO, Jeff Guyton replaces Masahiro Moro effective June 24th. Recalled to Hiroshima, Moro becomes the newly-minted Chief Communications Officer.

Guyton’s oversight includes North America, Canada, Columbia, and Mexico, along with US and Mexican vehicle production.

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2021 Hyundai LGBTQ Partnership Announced

Hyundai’s support for the LGBTQ community continues. Announced today, it includes a new commercial, and sponsorships of the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards and 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival.

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Toyota's Akio Toyoda Chosen 2021 World Car Person of the Year

Selected 2021 World Car Awards Person of the Year was Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) president and CEO.

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Ginetta Sports Cars Coming to America

Ginetta, a British race car manufacturer for more than 60 years, has opened Ginetta North America in South Boston, Virginia, to provide support for their motorsports customers across North America.

From their U.S. base, Ginetta will be able to not only market, distribute, and sell their sports cars, but grow their presence and the brand. Part of the expansion into North America included the acquisition of TMI AutoTech, a leader in low-volume sports car manufacturing in the U.S.

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Kia Hotseat Reopens When COO Exits the Building

Kia Motors America is looking for a new number two behind Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia Motors America, because as reported by Automotive News, COO Bill Peffer quit one week into the job.

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Mark LaNeve Exits Ford

Mark LaNeve is departing Ford after nearly four decades of sales and marketing in the auto industry, having held a number of leadership roles at General Motors and Volvo Cars in North America.

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Carlos Ghosn to Be Flambed by the French

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan’s former head honcho, will be questioned by investigators in Beirut next month, according to a report from Reuters that appeared in Autoblog. This time it’s not the Japanese applying the pressure, it’s the French.

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Materazzo Appointed Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing

Lisa Materazzo has been appointed group vice president, Toyota Marketing, replacing Ed Laukes, who is retiring after 32 years with the automaker. Materazzo, who currently serves as vice president of Lexus marketing, will run the entire gamut of Toyota division market planning, advertising, merchandising, sales promotions, incentives, NASCAR and motorsports, and all social and digital media. According to Statista, in 2019 Toyota spent $1.51 billion on advertising alone, behind General Motors and Ford.

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Ghosn Investigation Leads Top Nissan Exec to Bolt

Nissan’s chief performance officer, José Muñoz, has resigned from the company amid an broadened investigation into former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s alleged financial misconduct. Muñoz, 54, who also headed up Nissan’s Chinese business, previous had his hand on the tiller of the company’s North American operations.

Muñoz’s sudden departure, which comes just days after the exec took a leave of absence, points to turmoil in the upper ranks of the Japanese automaker, with one insider calling it a “purge.”

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Infiniti Prez Krueger Takes a Walk, Christian Meunier Steps In

Nissan’s Infiniti division has a new president. Announced Tuesday, Infiniti marketing and sales boss Christian Meunier will take the helm of the automaker’s luxury arm, replacing a departing Roland Krueger, who led the brand since 2015.

The change at the top is effective immediately, as Kruger apparently left in quite a hurry “to pursue new opportunities,” Nissan said in a statement.

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Ghosn Professes Innocence in Court Hearing

Ghosn, with the help of his team of lawyers, earned the right to speak in a packed Tokyo courtroom on Tuesday, and he used his time efficiently.

Described as looking gaunt, the jailed Renault CEO and ex-Nissan chairman claimed he was “wrongly accused” at the Tokyo district court hearing, adding that there’s nothing improper about the way he managed his finances.

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Ghosn's Lawyers Have a Big Day Planned Tomorrow

Renault CEO and ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is apparently very eager to tell his story, and tomorrow he’ll get his chance. The industry titan, who has resided in a Tokyo jail since his Nov. 19 arrest, is scheduled to appear at a Tokyo court hearing Tuesday — a hearing his team of lawyers fought hard to get.

Following Ghosn’s appearance, those lawyers plan to go before the media.

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Like Father, Like Son: GM's Mark Reuss Named Company President

Mark Reuss, General Motors’ global product boss and fan of the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette (especially the ZR1), was named GM president on Thursday morning, replacing Dan Ammann in that vacated role.

Ammann left the president’s chair in November to head up GM’s Cruise self-driving car unit, leading GM to discuss scrapping the role of president. Suffice it to say it had second thoughts. In the 54-year-old Reuss, the automaker has a product-focused company lifer whose attention hasn’t strayed since joining back in 1983.

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Jim Perkins, Who Saved the Corvette From a Moribund GM, Dies

Much has been written about Jim Perkins, the Texas boy with a keen love of Chevrolet whose relentless ambition finally placed him in GM’s sphere of influence. It’s thanks to Perkins that Chevrolet’s Corvette is still General Motors’ halo car, and not some long-departed nameplate culled during the height of badge engineering.

Perkins’ quintessentially American life came to an end this week. The two-time GM and one-time Toyota exec passed away in Charlotte, North Carolina, Friday at the age of 83, earning him tributes from fans of the car he saved.

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Carlos Ghosn Re-arrested Following New Allegation

Just yesterday, it looked as if Renault CEO and former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn might make it out of jail by the weekend. Japanese prosecutors had another idea, however. The industry titan was re-arrested Friday morning on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust, pushing the possibility of bail and a hotel Christmas further from the realm of possibility.

Detained since his initial Nov. 19 arrest, Ghosn is now accused of covering losses incurred through derivatives trading with Nisan funds. Those losses — totalling $16.6 million — took place in 2008.

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With Ghosn's Release Seemingly Imminent, Nissan Tries to Keep Him From Going Home

Detained in a Tokyo jail since his Nov. 19 arrest, Renault CEO and former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn could soon find himself out on bail. A Tokyo district court has rejected an appeal aimed at keeping Ghosn in detention, meaning Christmas might be brighter for the auto industry titan than previously thought.

Meanwhile, Nissan’s scrambling to ensure that, if Ghosn does walk free, he won’t return to a number of glitzy homes.

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From M to N to R&D Boss: Albert Biermann's Promotion Has Hyundai Fans Daydreaming

What new products will Albert Biermann spearhead? That’s what Hyundai watchers wonder as they read that the former BMW M performance head — and later boss of Hyundai’s fledgling N division — has in store for the Korean automaker.

Late last week, Hyundai announced that Biermann would become the first foreign-born executive in charge of the automaker’s R&D. He does so after getting the Kia Stinger and Hyundai N line off the ground; clearly, those at the top approve of his vision. With this latest appointment, Hyundai Motor Group now finds itself with a former Bimmer performance chief and a design head from Bentley. Not a bad place to be.

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FCA's Manley Taps Amazon Exec as COO for North America

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley, thrust unexpectedly into the leader’s chair following Sergio Marchionne’s death in early July, has called on a former Amazon executive to serve as chief operating officer.

The automaker announced Thursday that Mark Stewart, 51, ex Vice President of Operations for the online commerce giant, will take on the role of COO of the critically important North American region, removing that job from Manley’s plate. Like his predecessor, Manley wore more than one hat. Now, it’s up to Stewart to ensure that profits continue climbing in the land of Rams and Jeeps.

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'There Isn't Anything to Build': GM Canada Prez Opens Up About Oshawa Assembly Closure

Despite ongoing turmoil in the country’s oilpatch, with the government of Alberta paying to have white Dodge Durango R/T SUVs project a constantly updating tally of money lost due to discounted Canadian oil prices onto the sides of downtown Ottawa buildings, the big economic story north of the border remains General Motors.

After squashing rumors of a plant closure during the last round of union bargaining, the automaker announced late last month that the city of Oshawa, Ontario’s worst fears would indeed come true. Oshawa Assembly will close by the end of 2019, leaving some 2,500 GM workers out of a job.

It’s not the kind of situation a newly minted company president wants to preside over, but that’s the plate Travis Hester was handed from the bigwigs in the Renaissance Center.

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Dropped From Mitsubishi and Nissan, Ghosn Faces New Allegations

Mitsubishi Motors, which joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2016, voted unanimously to drop Carlos Ghosn as its chairman Monday, just a week after the executive’s arrest on suspicion of financial misdealings.

According to CEO Osamu Masuko, who now dons the title of interim chairman, it was an “agonizing decision.” For Ghosn, the agony has just begun. Currently housed in a Tokyo jail awaiting formal charges, the industry titan ended last week by seeing the company he ran for 15 years, Nissan, oust him as chairman. Renault hasn’t made a decision as to the fate of its CEO.

While Ghosn is accused of underreporting his income in the early part of the decade, a Japanese newspaper has shed light on another alleged misdeed.

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Board Meets, and Ghosn's (Almost) Gone From Nissan

As expected, Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn ended the week with fewer titles than when he started. The automaker’s board of directors voted to remove the executive, instrumental in creating the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance powerhouse, on Thursday, just three days after his arrest on suspicion of under-reported income and misuse of company assets.

The move came as Renault, which hasn’t made decision on whether to remove Ghosn as CEO, found itself at loggerheads with its alliance partner. The French automaker urged caution in the matter, perhaps fearing that Ghosn was the glue holding everything together.

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With Charges Still Not Laid, Ghosn to Be Treated 'As a Burglar'

Disgraced industry phenom Carlos Ghosn, who still holds the title of Nissan chairman and Renault CEO (though likely not for long), could remain in custody for some time as Japanese authorities take their time in laying charges.

The news of Ghosn’s arrest amid allegations of severely underreported income fell like a hammer Monday morning, shaking the stocks of the automakers Ghosn guided since their tie-up at the end of the last century. From an opulent private jet to a sparse Tokyo jail cell, the auto titan’s journey this week surprised everyone.

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What Did Nissan Accomplish During Carlos Ghosn's Tenure?

We’re weeks, probably months, perhaps years or even decades from learning what went down in Nissan’s Yokohama executive suite over the last few days, weeks, and months.

Nissan’s departed boss, Carlos Ghosn, who has not yet been forced out at Renault – a fact that’s certainly subject to change at any given moment – faces the prospect of prolonged jail time.

On the one hand, the harshest observers will point to CEO Syndrome, an above-the-law belief and a sense of invincibility, that precipitated a turn to horrifying criminal behaviour. At the other end of the spectrum, there will be others who see a coordinated corporate coup d’état.

Regardless of where the early verdicts land, based as they typically are on limited information and scant evidence, on this all analysts can agree: Nissan’s turnaround during Ghosn’s 19-year tenure was monumental.

These are the numbers behind the transformation.

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Renault-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn to Be Sacked; Industry Titan Faces Arrest in Japan

Carlos Ghosn, the globe-straddling executive behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the resurrection of Mitsubishi Motors, has reportedly been arrested in Japan following a whistleblower-prompted investigation into financial irregularities.

In a statement, Nissan said Ghosn and board director Greg Kelly allegedly violated Japanese financial laws by under-reporting compensation levels for years, all part of an apparent plot to hide Ghosn’s actual level of compensation. The automaker will move to remove Ghosn, thus ending a long and successful era of governance.

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Maserati's North American Dealer Boss Handed the Reins

Maserati, a fairly opaque, Fiat Chrysler-owned brand that exists in the periphery of the mainstream luxury scene, has a new leader in North America.

Announced Monday, Al Gardner, head of dealer operations in the region, will take control of the marque from current Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis, who jettisoned his control of the Italian brand in an executive shuffling last month.

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Lincoln Product Boss Hangs Up His Hat

The man who oversaw the development of Lincoln’s current vehicle lineup will retire effective November 1st, the automaker claims. Scott Tobin, a Ford Motor Company veteran who hopped the pond from Europe to the U.S. in 2006, had a hand in developing a wide swath of the company’s current products.

Tobin’s departure comes at an interesting time for Lincoln. The premium brand, having returned from its near-death state in the earlier part of the decade, finds itself in need of volume-boosting new product.

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Hyundai Motor America Looking for Another CEO

After barely a year in the biggest office at Hyundai Motor America, CEO Kyung Soo Lee has returned to South Korea, leaving the automaker’s American arm looking for a new boss. Lee served as an interim leader after Hyundai sacked former CEO Dave Zuchowski in December 2016, taking on the top spot last September.

The CEO search comes as Hyundai attempts to reverse falling sales in the United States with a product offensive. There’s also a engine fire problem the feds want Hyundai to answer to.

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Volkswagen Taps Audi's Scott Keogh As New North American Boss

Scott Keogh, head of Audi of America, will switch jobs on November 1st. The 49-year-old, who joined Audi in 2006 and ascended to the U.S. president’s chair in 2012, will take over Volkswagen’s North American operations next month, replacing Hinrich Woebcken.

While Keogh’s predecessor began easing VW in a new direction in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, Keogh needs to be just as much of a fixer.

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Facepalms Reverberate Across America As Musk Mocks the Regulator That Has Him Over a Barrel

Tesla CEO Elon Musk loves railing against shortsellers to the same degree that normal, regular people enjoy eating and breathing. As his company’s stock continues a downward slide initiated and perpetuated by Musk’s completely avoidable antics, the CEO decided that mocking a securities regulator and endangering a settlement reached on Saturday was a good and proper course of action. And so he took to Twitter Thursday night to make it happen.

It’s gotten to the point where young investors and diehard Tesla fans have taken to social media, begging him to cut it out.

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Jailed Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Cut Loose From Company

Rupert Stadler, now former CEO of Audi, saw his contract with Volkswagen Group terminated on Tuesday, thus allowing the automaker to distance itself from a PR-squashing reminder of its disastrous diesel emissions fiasco.

Serving as Audi AG’s CEO since 2010, Stadler’s June arrest on suspicion of interference in an ongoing German fraud investigation pushed an interim CEO into the top chair. It was the highest profile arrest thus far in the diesel emissions scandal. As investigators continue probing his potential involvement in the diesel fraud, the jailed Stadler also gives up his seat on VW’s management board, effective immediately.

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Manley Shakes Up FCA Ranks; Bigland Heads Back to Ram

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley just can’t keep his hands off the Jeep brand. In his first management reorganization since assuming the top position in July, Manley placed the responsibility for key FCA brands in trustworthy hands, though the CEO seems reluctant to part ways with his beloved Jeep.

Prior to becoming CEO, Manley headed up both the Jeep and Ram divisions. Now, Tim Kuniskis will add the Jeep North America file to his responsibilities, maintaining his grip on the Alfa Romeo brand. Given that there was no mention in Manley’s letter to employees of who’ll oversee Jeep’s global operations, it is assumed the chief executive will continue nurturing FCA’s most valuable asset on the world stage.

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As Dr. Z Prepares to Move On, Daimler Taps a Swede for CEO Job

Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz division won’t have Dieter Zetsche at the helm for much longer. The mustachioed, jeans-loving chief executive, who’s headed the automaker since 2000, leaves the position in May, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Dr. Z isn’t leaving the company — come May, the 65-year-old will accept the role of chairman of the group’s supervisory board. Occupying Zetsche’s former position as head of Daimler and the Mercedes-Benz brand will be the first non-German CEO in the company’s exceptionally long history.

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Neil Schloss, One of Ford's Financial Saviors, Announces Retirement

As former treasurer of Ford Motor Company, Schloss probably doesn’t look at that dark period a decade ago with much fondness. It was a rough time, as he, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth, and CEO Alan Mulally (among others) attempted to guide their ship through a swirling financial storm.

It’s far calmer waters now, and the 36-year Ford veteran now finds himself serving as CFO of the automaker’s mobility arm. And it will stay that way until the end of December, at which point the 59-year-old Schloss hands over his hat and starts the cushy life of a retired executive.

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Local Man Finally Hit With Libel Suit

A Silicon Valley resident had a big day yesterday. After finally revealing the real, live, human being he plans to stuff on top of a rocket for a journey around the moon, this same resident also received notice of a lawsuit filed against him. Big, big day.

What’s amazing about Vernon Unsworth’s libel suit is how completely avoidable it was. However, as we’re dealing with the mind of Tesla CEO Elon Musk here, the suit — which accuses Musk of libel, assault, and slander — seemed from the outset to be unavoidable. This is a man who goaded the litigant to sue even after apologizing for calling a man he’s never met a “pedo” on Twitter. Musk then forgot all about the apologies and doubled down on the unsubstantiated claim, even as Unsworth secured legal representation.

And why? Unsworth helped rescue a Thai soccer team from a flooded cave but had the nerve to criticise Musk’s homemade submarine, which rescuers never employed in the cave extraction. It’s enough to make one believe that only a certain type of personality makes it big in Silicon Valley.

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Little Lotus Lands a British Heavyweight for CEO

In its quest to gain a loftier status among the sporty, well-to-do set, Lotus Cars spent the year poaching talent from other British automakers. China’s Geely, which holds a majority stake in the automaker, is expected to loosen the purse strings in pursuit of new models and a greater premium market share, but the human side of the operation needs to be in place before that occurs.

While former Bentley and Aston Martin execs have already hopped on board, the automaker now has a former top Jaguar Land Rover official in the big office, ready to put plans into action. He’s also no stranger to SUVs — a segment Lotus wants a piece of.

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Ahead of IPO, Aston Martin Appoints a Female Chair

British luxury car maker Aston Martin is putting a contemporary face on its company ahead of an initial public offering planned for October. On Monday, the company appointed Penny Hughes to the position of chair — a symbolic act in a slow-to-evolve industry historically dominated by men.

Hughes arrives at Aston Martin with an impressive résumé. Formerly head of Coca-Cola’s UK and Ireland operations, the new chair also served on the boards of Royal Bank of Scotland and telecom giant Vodafone. As it prepares to make 25 percent of its shares public, the increasingly high-profile automaker wants an infusion of fresh blood while remaining tied by the firmest of bonds to its storied history.

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Musk Tosses the Sleeping Bag to a New Bigshot

Big Tesla news inevitable comes at odd times, usually at the very end of the week, and most often at night — at least here on the East Coast. And so it was that late Friday afternoon, following another bizarre week of Elon antics (and two high-profile departures), Tesla CEO Elon Musk upset the negative news cycle by announcing a shakeup of his company’s upper ranks, including the appointment of a president of automotive.

What does a president of automotive do? A hell of a lot, it seems. Besides overseeing all of the company’s automotive operations, newly promoted Tesla veteran Jerome Guillen must also keep the sometimes dodgy supply chain running smoothly. His other big role involves removing stress from Musk’s life.

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As Court Rejects Ex-Audi CEO's Prison Appeal, Automaker Chooses Its Future Boss: Report

Rupert Stadler, whose reign as CEO of Audi came to an end after his June arrest, won’t walk out the front doors of his Bavarian jail anytime soon. A Munich court has rejected the former auto executive’s appeal for release.

The appeal came nearly a month ago, around the same time Stadler — suspected of fraud in the diesel emissions scandal — stopped talking to prosecutors. The reason for the court’s decision is the same reason why a judge remanded Stadler in custody back in June. Worries remain that he might tamper with evidence if freed.

Meanwhile, there’s change brewing at the top of Audi’s corporate hierarchy.

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Prakash Patel Out at Ford After Allegation of Inappropriate Behavior: Report

Prakash Patel, Ford’s global director of program management and former lead planner for the sixth-generation Mustang, has left the company. Ford Motor Company confirmed Patel’s departure to Automotive News, but declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding his termination.

This makes Patel the second high-ranking exec to leave Ford under a dark cloud this year. In February, former Ford North America president Raj Nair departed the company after an internal investigation turned up instances of “inappropriate behavior” that was “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”

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Melody Lee Resigns From Cadillac; Book Gets a New Boss

Melody Lee, the former brand marketing director who joined General Motors’ luxury division in 2012 and later headed its “Book by Cadillac” subscription service, has resigned. Apparently, Lee isn’t jumping ship to another job just yet.

According to Cadillac Society, Lee posted to LinkedIn that she “doesn’t know what’s next,” but is “excited for it.” To any casual observer, that language reeks of being forced out; a GM spokesman claims Lee “has elected to resign from Cadillac to pursue other interests.”

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Movin' Money: Ex-Volkswagen CEO's Transfers Raise Investigators' Eyebrows

Large money transfers initiated by former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn early last year have German investigators wondering if the executive may have believed a criminal charge was incoming.

Already indicted in the U.S. on fraud charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions scandal, Winterkorn (seen above with Yoko Ono) remains under a cloud of suspicion in his homeland. Though he’s claimed no early knowledge of the diesel engine manipulation, the former top boss remains under scrutiny from methodical German prosecutors who recently arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.

Recently, the probe’s focus turned to large sums of money leaving the country in the lead-up to the U.S. indictment.

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Marchionne Was Ill for More Than a Year; Hospital Speaks Out

Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died Wednesday at the age of 66, underwent treatment for a serious, unspecified illness for more than a year, a Swiss hospital revealed Thursday.

The sudden change in the executive’s health threw Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari into a frenzied search for new CEOs on Saturday. It’s reported that Marchionne hadn’t informed either automaker of his condition, with their boards of directors only finding out from Marchionne’s family on Friday after his condition rapidly deteriorated.

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Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat Chrysler's Europe, Middle East and Africa Chief, Hits the Road

A man in the running to replace Sergio Marchionne after his planned 2019 retirement has left the company, just two days after Jeep and Ram boss Mike Manley took over the CEO position from a seriously ill Marchionne.

The departure of Alfredo Altavilla, who headed up Fiat Chrysler’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, leaves the unexpectedly promoted Manley with another file on his plate.

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Ferrari Names New CEO As Word of Marchionne's Health Takes on Ominous Tones

Louis C. Camilleri was named the next chief executive officer of Ferrari N.V. on Saturday, succeeding former CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne, whose health has taken a turn for the worse.

As head of Fiat Chrysler, Marchionne orchestrated the successful spin-off of Ferrari beginning in 2014, completing the process in 2016. While the executive had planned to stay on as chairman of the Italian luxury sports car brand after his scheduled retirement from FCA in April of 2019, fate intervened. Jeep brand head Mike Manley is now CEO of FCA, while Camilleri — who arrives with an impressive background in big business — has taken the helm of Ferrari.

In the chairman’s seat now sits John Elkann, head of the Agnelli family’s Exor holding company, which holds a controlling stake in FCA and Ferrari.

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As Health Suffers, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Could Be Replaced Today

Several news agencies are reporting that Sergio Marchionne, the colorful chief executive who returned Fiat, and then a combined Fiat Chrysler, to profitability, might not end the day as CEO.

Marchionne, who took the helm of Fiat in 2004, was due to retire next April, and recently unveiled the automaker’s upcoming five-year product plan. Two sources told Reuters that Marchionne suffered “massive” complications from a recent shoulder surgery. According to those sources, the boards of Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, and CNH Industrial are all meeting Saturday to name a successor.

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Ex-Audi CEO Clams Up, Wants Out of the Clink

Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s “How I spent My Summer Vacation” story isn’t likely to make any of us jealous. The one-time top dog at the German luxury automaker has cooled his heels in a Bavarian jail ever since German authorities arrested him on suspicion of fraud back in June. Stadler’s arrest served as a shocking escalation in Germany’s investigation into Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

It seems like time behind bars is getting to Stadler. As the suspended executive attempts to gain his release from prison, new details have emerged over the reasons for his arrest.

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Tesla's Employee Lawsuit Saga Grows Weirder by the Minute

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be on the hunt for potential saboteurs and thieves. However, as the company doubles down on Model 3 assembly both inside its Fremont, California plant and the tent erected outside, a murky sideshow has emerged.

On Sunday night, Musk emailed employees to alert them to the actions of a saboteur caught hacking the automaker’s manufacturing operating system (MOS), cautioning them to be on the lookout for other nefarious deeds. The automaker then filed a lawsuit against process technician Martin Tripp, who Tesla alleges stole several gigabytes worth of data from the MOS and funnelled the info, which included photos, to shadowy third parties. Incorrect statements were also made to the media by the disgruntled employee, Tesla claims, and it’s now seeking its pound of flesh (as well as its data, plus punitive damages) via the suit.

Tripp’s now telling his side of the story. Oh, and there’s a workplace shooting threat to toss into the mix, too.

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Audi's Stadler Out as CEO, but Perhaps Only Temporarily

An emergency board meeting held in the wake of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s Monday arrest led to the chief executive’s suspension from the company. It was Stadler’s idea, apparently.

As the former CEO cools his heels in a Munich jail, held on suspicion of fraud and evidence suppression related to Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal, the automaker’s board named sales and marketing chief Abraham Schot as interim CEO. Whether or not Stadler returns to his former post depends on his innocence.

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Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested, Declared a Flight Risk

Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, was arrested in Munich Monday morning on suspicion of fraud, according to German prosecutors.

The CEO, who took the helm at Audi in 2007 after joining the company in 1990, was taken into custody following a years-long probe into Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating. While the automaker has already paid a steep price at home and abroad for its defeat device-equipped diesel engines, today marks the highest profile arrest so far in the ongoing investigations.

According to German media, prosecutors claim Stadler poses a flight risk, meaning he’ll remain in custody for the time being.

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Chuck Stevens Calling It a Day, Rising Financial Star Tapped As GM's CFO

Chuck Stevens joined General Motors’ Buick division as a very young lad in 1978, one year after the automaker’s gargantuan full-sizers hit the gym and sent buyers flocking to dealerships. Now 58, Stevens says he’ll step down from his role as chief financial officer and executive vice president at the beginning of September. He’ll remain as an advisor until March 2019.

GM named Stevens CFO for its global operations in 2014; before that, he oversaw the automaker’s North American finances starting in 2010 — a turbulent time for The General.

In his wake, a woman whose actions helped rustled up quite a bit of cash for the automaker will pick up where he left off.

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Kia Motors America Hopes New COO Repeats That European Magic

Kia Motors, the brand that entered the U.S. with the Sephia and improved drastically from there, has a new chief operating officer — one it hopes can guide the automaker’s domestic division to greater sales heights.

It’s a reasonable expectation, as Michael Cole helped grow Kia Motors Europe’s sales 40 percent during his time as COO. Cole took on that role back in 2012. With a new executive to guide its sales, marketing, and product planning, Kia hopes last year’s U.S. sales slide is a one-time blip.

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Twitter Fallout: Musk's UAW Tweet Leaves Him Wide Open, Says Ex-NLRB Head

Each day brings new reasons why no one should ever waste their precious earthly moments on Twitter, yet many of us keep up the practice. If we’re not seen doing things on social media, are we really alive? Are we really part of modern society?

Maybe that’s a discussion best left for another time. Regardless, heated back-and-forths on publicly visible platforms have a way of complicating one’s life, and a former National Labor Relations Board head claims Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent tweetstorm could land him in hot water.

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From Snapchat Parent to Tesla: Automaker Gains New VP of Engineering

As Tesla’s upper ranks shed members like a bad tennis club, a new executive is poised to tackle the automaker’s engineering portfolio.

Stuart Bowers, formerly the vice president of monetization engineering for social media platform Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, will soon don the title of VP of engineering at Tesla. That’s good news for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who recently lost — perhaps temporarily — his senior VP of engineering.

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Booted From Ford, Raj Nair Shows Up at Ford GT Builder Multimatic

Raj Nair, former executive vice-president of Ford Motor Company and head of its North American region, has joined the company that built his car.

Nair took delivery of a Ford GT — a vehicle he helped develop during his time as product development boss and chief technical officer — shortly before his sudden and murky February exit from the company. Well, he’s now president and CEO of Multimatic Motorsports, Canadian builder of the GT.

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Sergio CONFIRMED as Trump's 'Favorite' Auto Exec, Hackett and Barra DESTROYED

Ten automotive executives met with President Donald Trump this week, hoping to find ways to increase domestic production and mitigate the coming changes to corporate fuel economy regulations. The meeting, held in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, included General Motors’ Mary Barra, Ford’s Jim Hackett and Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne. While a large portion of the event was spent discussing the administration’s attempt to roll back established fuel economy rules, Trump was focused on returning manufacturing jobs to the United States.

The president noted that FCA’s decision to spend $1 billion in order to expand truck assembly in Michigan made Marchionne more appealing than his contemporaries. “Right now, he is my favorite person in the room,” Trump said.

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Mazda Taps Americas Boss As New CEO; No Shortage of Risk Lies Ahead

The man who spent the last five years overseeing Mazda’s North American operations will soon lead the company. Akira Marumoto, 60, takes the helm of the automaker on June 26th, the company announced Friday.

The moves comes as Mazda prepares to introduce a revolutionary type of gasoline engine, the Skyactiv-X, in the hopes of proving its complete reliance on internal combustion cars does not make it a dinosaur.

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Analysts Aren't Impressed With Elon Musk's Earnings Call Behavior

What’s a good way of pissing off the very analysts you’re hoping to impress — or at least placate? Brush them off in the midst of an earnings call. Resorting to angsty teen language works well, too.

That’s what happened Wednesday during a call between Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Wall Street analysts, media, and one YouTuber. While the YouTuber — Gali Russell, shareholder and young host of a channel called HyperChange TV (who gained access to the call via a tweet) — ended up as Musk’s preferred interviewer, the analysts who asked questions described by Musk as “dry” and “boring” no doubt left the interaction in a state of shock.

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Marchionne: 2019 Ram Production Is a Headache, Levante Launch 'Sucked'

Candid as always, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne let off some steam during a first-quarter earnings call this week. The chief executive, due to retire early next year, revealed the launch of the next-generation 2019 Ram 1500 was not the smoothest process in the world, with the company taking on additional costs to get the pickup out the door.

Despite these troubles, the Ram 1500’s launch is nothing compared to the debut of the Maserati Levante SUV in 2017, which hit the market with a whimper. That launch straight up “sucked,” Marchionne said.

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Porsche Powertrain Boss Arrested in Germany: Report

Jörg Kerner, Porsche’s head of powertrain development, has reportedly been arrested by German authorities for playing an alleged role in Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

Kerner, who sources say is being held on remand due to the potential of being a flight risk, was appointed director of Porsche’s powertrain development division in October 2011. Before that, Kerner worked for supplier Robert Bosch GmbH from 1986 to 2004, after which he oversaw development of engine electronics and software for Audi.

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  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.