Category: People

By on December 29, 2018

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. Read More >

By on December 21, 2018

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveils redesigned Maxima “4 Door Spor - Image: Nissan

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. Read More >

By on December 20, 2018

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. Read More >

By on December 17, 2018

2018 Kia Stinger - Image: Kia

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. Read More >

By on December 7, 2018

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. Read More >

By on December 4, 2018

Oshawa Assembly, Image: General Motors

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. Read More >

By on November 27, 2018

Carlos Ghosn - Titan intro - Image: Nissan

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. Read More >

By on November 24, 2018

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. Read More >

By on November 21, 2018

Carlos Ghosn Rogue Introduction - Image: Nissan

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. Read More >

By on November 21, 2018

Carlos Ghosn - Titan intro - Image: Nissan

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. Read More >

By on November 19, 2018

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. Read More >

By on November 13, 2018

2017 Maserati Levante side view (Image: Maserati)

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. Read More >

By on October 30, 2018

2018 Lincoln Navigator

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. Read More >

By on October 29, 2018

2019SantaFe

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. Read More >

By on October 10, 2018

2018 volkswagen golf family - image: Volkswagen

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. Read More >

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