Tag: Executives

By on November 15, 2019

Image: Audi

Eleven months after making interim CEO Bram Schot a permanent fixture in the big chair, Audi AG’s board has found someone else to lead the luxury brand.

Markus Duesmann, a mechanical engineer who served as BMW’s board member in charge of purchasing until his contract ran out in September, will take over from Schot on April 1st, 2020. Schot has apparently decided to leave Volkswagen Group at the end of March “by best mutual agreement.” He got the job after his predecessor, Rupert Stadler, was arrested for suspected involvement in the company’s diesel emissions scandal. (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2019

The cutting edge of new technology will be guided by new hands at Ford. On Thursday, the automaker announced changes to its executive lineup, including the departure of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC head Sherif Marakby and his replacement by vice president of strategy John Lawler.

Ford didn’t elaborate much on Marakby’s absence, stating that the exec, who formerly headed up Uber’s global vehicles programs, “has elected to take a personal leave from the company.” (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2019

FCA

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Fiat Chrysler and chief of the mighty Ram brand, has withdrawn a lawsuit against his employer in the hopes of gaining whistleblower protection.

The top FCA executive filed the suit in June after the automaker allegedly made him take the financial fall for dodgy sales practices that preceded his tenure. Bigland, who was on the short list of possible successors for late CEO Sergio Marchionne, claimed FCA withheld bonuses and severely cut his pay — payback for a federal probe that forced the company to revise its sales history.

The lawsuit will be back on come December. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Early reports out of Japan Tuesday indicated Nissan’s replacement for former CEO Hiroto Saikawa had been found, and the company’s board soon confirmed it. First reported by Nikkei, the automaker’s board has tapped Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida to sit in the big chair.

Uchida, 53, took on his current role in 2018; he also heads China’s Dongfeng Motor Company — a 50-50 joint venture between the two automakers. The executive joined Nissan back in 2003.

Uchida has no shortage of issues he’ll have to grapple with. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2019

Johan De Nysschen Cadillac CT6, Image: Cadillac

A year and change after his ouster as president of the Cadillac brand, Johan de Nysschen has returned to a familiar place: Volkswagen of America, where, many moons ago, the executive sat on the automaker’s board while serving as Audi’s U.S. boss.

This homecoming sees de Nysschen take on the role of chief operating officer for the VW brand’s recently-created North American region. However, it will probably not, as one TTAC writer opined in a chatroom discussion, lead to the renaming of the Jetta GLI as the Q220. (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2019

Ask Japanese media about Hiroto Saikawa’s status at Nissan and they’ll tell you he already has one and a half feet out the door. Following a report Sunday in Japan’s Nikkei, in which Saikawa allegedly told company executives of his plan to resign, the boss man himself admitted it’s true.

Speaking to the media, Saikawa, who was forced into contrition last week over revelations of excess compensation from an equity-linked remuneration scheme, said he wants to head out ASAP. His replacement will already be aware of the great challenges ahead. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

Image: VW

One hopes, anyway. While marketing won’t save you from a roadside breakdown (it might, in a roundabout way, get you into that situation), it nonetheless exists on the periphery of the automotive realm, subtly impacting sales. If a campaign is successful, the impact might be more than subtle. If it’s bad, the automaker is suddenly open to jokes and criticism.

Then the PR types in the comms department go to work.

One company that’s seen plenty of action in both departments in the recent past is Volkswagen. If you’re unfamiliar with this obscure German brand, you may remember it as the company selling “clean diesel” cars with fantastic fuel economy a number of years back. With that scandal now fading in the rear-view, the effort to rebrand the company as a receptive steward of the earth is well underway. And the man who’ll lead that charge in America is Saad Chehab, former communications dude for Kia Motors America. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2019

BMW

Four years after taking the helm of BMW, Harald Krüger is pulling a Lyndon Johnson. The 27-year Bimmer veteran has decided not to seek a second term as CEO, the automaker reported Friday, leaving it in search of new leadership at a pivotal time in its history.

To any onlooker, it seems Krüger had enough of guiding the German luxury marque through an increasingly thorny landscape, with challenges posed by stagnating sales in the West, an economic downturn in the East, and costly, must-have EV roadmaps. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2019

fca

It’s seldom spoken of publicly, but every writer keeps in the back of his or her mind an obituary they hope to never pen. In this keyboard jockey’s case, that obit would be the one you’re reading now.

Tuesday night brought word that Lee Iacocca — era-defining auto executive, marketer extraordinaire, outspoken patriot and critic — passed away at the age of 94. Lia Iacocca Assad says her father died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at his Bel-Air, California home, The Washington Post reports. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

FCA

There’s drama in Auburn Hills tonight. And, by the sounds of it, for many days leading up to this point. Reid Bigland, Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales boss and the appropriately imposing head of the cash-cow Ram brand, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his employer.

Bigland, who joined Chrysler in 2006 and soon found himself heading up Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge, plus serving as CEO of FCA Canada (a role he maintains), claims the company’s HQ is awash in bad blood. The exec says he’s being punished for not taking the fall in a federal investigation into FCA’s sales reporting. (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2019

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross front quarter

The man who once helped outfit Mitsubishi’s lone American assembly plant will soon head the company he joined back in 1984. He also wonders what can be done about the brand’s existence in the United States.

Takao Kato, 57, steps into the shoes of outgoing CEO Osamu Masuko on June 21st — a move that comes as the automaker’s membership in the Renault-Nissan Alliance faces uncertainty in light of merger overtures from Fiat Chrysler. In a news conference held before the merger news, Kato mused about the company’s limited presence in North America, promising changes ahead. (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2019

2019 INFINITI QX50

Amid a tumultuous time for Nissan and its luxury division, Infiniti, company CEO Hiroto Saikawa is counting on its crucial U.S. business to turn things around. After seeing its global profit fall 45 percent last year, Saikawa declared earlier this month that the company had hit “rock bottom.”

Further profit and operating margin declines are forecasted for 2019.

Executive shuffling has become the norm as the automaker attempts to stem sales losses in the United States. Lofty volume targets of yesteryear have given way to an approach focused on long-term stability. Still, a turnaround won’t happen overnight.

One man Saikawa is counting on is Infiniti’s new sales boss, Bob Welby, who takes over the position June 1st. (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2019

Image: Nissan

After seeing its fortunes switch from dire to promising over the past few years, Mitsubishi Motors will gain a new chief operating officer on June 21. On Friday, the automaker announced that Osamu Masuko plans to step down as CEO, five years after taking on the job.

Under Masuko’s watch, the automaker rekindled its North American business and entered the Renault-Nissan Alliance, ensuring cost-effective technology and platform sharing in the years ahead. (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Hyundai

José Muñoz, who resigned as Nissan’s chief performance officer in January, is now on the Hyundai payroll. Muñoz jumped ship as turmoil roiled Nissan’s upper ranks and investigations began in the wake of former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest.

The exec, seen as a close ally to Ghosn, previously served as chairman of the automaker’s North American business — a region he’s returning to, albeit with another automaker. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

Ford badge emblem logo

The chief money man at the Blue Oval plans to hang up his Excel spreadsheets by the end of this year, according to sources in the know. He’s expected to stay on until a new top beancounter is broken in.

Why should you care? Because the Glass House is in the throes of a major product overhaul and under constant scrutiny from Wall Street, that’s why. Any shakeup in the corner offices is bound to have an effect on both activities, especially when recent earnings have been disappointing.

(Read More…)

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