Tag: People

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 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 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 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…)

By on September 26, 2018

Image: Daimler AG

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. (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2018

Image: FCA

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. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2018

2018 Kia Stinger - Image: Kia

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. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2018

smart fortwo electric

People make fun of automakers with severely limited vehicle lineups, but Mitsubishi has nothing on the diminutive — in every sense of the word — Smart brand. Note: we’re using a capital “S” here and always will.

Technically, the Daimler AG division sells a single model in the United States, though the powers that be break it up into two: coupe and cabriolet. Well known for being the smallest,  lightest mass-produced new car on the domestic market, the Fortwo quickly gained a reputation for having the jerkiest, most unsatisfying transmission in existence. Recently, engine fires sparked (pardon the pun) a recall of 43,000 2008-2009 vehicles in the U.S. and 7,000 in Canada.

Born as a diesel-powered division before changing over to gasoline propulsion, Smart has now evolved into an electric-only brand. And its U.S. sales have never been lower. Maybe the new head of Smart will have some ideas. (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2018

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

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. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Atlas/Tiguan - Image: VW

Reading the long-from retrospective of Hinrich Woebcken’s life in Automotive News, this author can’t help but think of a friend who, like Volkswagen of America’s CEO, spent his early life in Rochester, New York. In the executive’s case, it was an exchange program in the late Seventies.

This friend, after odd jobs accumulated a sufficient stockpile of cash, went out and bought his first car — a white Volkswagen Fox, which I believe he later rolled (with limited damage). The choice of buying a Fox wasn’t unusual, even in a market awash in cheap Detroit iron. Foxes were small, economical, presumably better built than the domestic competition, and above all else, affordable.

It’s the latter virtue Woebken wants to return to the VW fold, as paying extra for “German engineering” isn’t nearly as popular as it once was. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2017

Arjay Miller, Image: Stanford Graduate School of Business.

You don’t reach the ripe old age of 101 without accumulating a few stories, and by all accounts, Arjay Miller had them in spades. The former Ford Motor Company “Whiz Kid,” part of a group of young men hired en masse by Henry Ford II following the Second World War, joined his colleagues in turning around a once-revolutionary automaker that had fallen behind the times.

After achieving this goal, Miller found himself president of the company, only to give up the cushy, high-flying executive existence for the low-paid academic life he seemed to prefer. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2017

It looks like mustachioed, jeans-loving Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche will have to look elsewhere for a successor to the company throne.

Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Trucks & Buses, was thought by many a likely candidate to take on the top job once Dr. Z retires. Announced today, Bernhard is stepping down from his post and leaving the company he joined in 1994, even before his contract expires.

Infighting and age could have a lot to do with it. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2016

Dave Zuckowski, Hyundai

There’s room at the top at Hyundai Motor America after the sudden firing of CEO David Zuchowski, insider sources claim.

According to Automotive News, Zuchowski, who joined the company as sales chief in 2007 before taking the top job two years ago, didn’t achieve internal sales targets. As such, he’s reportedly out the door, replaced by an interim leader.

It might be hard finding someone to replicate Hyundai’s sizzling post-recession sales performance. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2016

Preston Perry, tractor owner

If this catches on, local governments will have to choose between anarchy and saving on infrastructure repair.

An 84-year-old man in rural Nova Scotia, Canada just did what many of us have always fantasized about — he rolled out his own heavy equipment to fix the road in front of his house, according to Global News.

Preston Perry of Upper Nine Mile River was sick to death of the suspension-bending potholes in his gravel roadway, and — like Charles Bronson in any movie starring Charles Bronson — stormed out the door to take matters into his own hands.

(Read More…)

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