Personalities

Auto Industry Analysis Moves to Edmunds.com

By Jeff Hester December 14, 2011
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Thank you for your interest in Edmunds.com's automotive industry news and analysis. AutoObserver.com is being integrated into a new area of Edmunds.com. Analysis now can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/. To stay connected via social media as well, please follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on... more

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With Chrysler 'Fixed', Francois Moves On To Fiat

By Dale Buss August 1, 2011

If Olivier Francois needs some inspiration as he takes on new responsibilities as global chief of the Fiat brand, he need only look at what he already has been able to check off his to-do list for the last couple of years: 1) As chief marketing officer of a dynamic global automotive enterprise, keep up with a charismatic, peripatetic, whirlwind of a CEO who’s likely to surprise you every day; 2) Lift a troubled but proud niche Italian automotive brand to new stability as CEO while simultaneously playing a crucial role in reviving an iconic American carmaker; 3) Make more

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Stempel Was Last Of GM Car Guy CEOs

By Dale Buss May 10, 2011

Robert Stempel died last weekend in Florida, leaving in Detroit a legacy as a colorful but star-crossed CEO who was denied the opportunity to fully apply his engineering credentials to fix the problem of General Motors' bland and outdated product line in the Nineties. At least Stempel lived to see the fledgling realization of his dream of marketplace acceptance of all-electric vehicles, a cause which occupied much of his post-GM career. more

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Nissan Picks First Non-Japanese to Head R&D

By Michelle Krebs February 17, 2011

Nissan has selected Carla Bailo to head research and development for its Americas operations. She is the first woman and the first non-Japanese executive to hold the post. Bailo's new title officially is senior vice president, Research & Development-Nissan Americas, effective April 1. She succeeds Motohiro Matsumura, currently president, Nissan Technical Center North America. Matsumura will return to Nissan headquarters in Japan for a new key assignment to be announced in the future. more

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EV Charger Company Coulomb Appoints New CEO

By John O'Dell February 9, 2011

  Coulomb Technologies, an increasingly important player in the growing EV charger market, has named longtime digital networking executive Pasquale "Pat" Romano as its new chief executive and president, replacing co-founder Richard Lowenthal. Lowenthal, who helped start the California-based company in 2007, is transitioning into the post of chief technical officer and head of Coulomb's government affairs office as the company makes a transition of its own from entrepreneurial start-up into the growth and marketing development stages. more

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CEO Akerson Shuffles Executives to Put Own Stamp on GM

By Dale Buss January 21, 2011

Not content to settle for slight progress when he's confident that things could be improving robustly, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson is moving more and bigger pieces around on his executive chessboard. And Akerson hopes that the results of a handful of moves announced this week will be to accelerate GM's product-development function, restock its thinning pipeline of new vehicles more quickly, light a fire under the company's technology prowess, and further globalize the company's operations at a time of intensifying worldwide integration within the industry's biggest players. "He's like a lot of people who have looked at the more

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Prius Could Be Built in U.S. -- Someday

By Michelle Krebs January 11, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. President  Akio Toyoda attended his first-ever Detroit auto show - his first U.S auto show, for that matter - because he wanted to personally unveil the new variant of the Prius hybrid and announce the establishment of a safety research center in Michigan. Toyoda said hinted that  the automaker would at some point resurrect its plan to build the Prius in the United States when sales grow. more

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Think Taps Former GM-Turnaround Advisor for Operations

By Michelle Krebs January 6, 2011

By Danny King Think tapped William Nowicke, a former executive with both Chrysler and General Motors turnaround advisory firm AlixPartners, to help run operations for the Norway-based electric vehicle maker as it builds out its U.S. and European operations and sets up its retail network. Nowicke, whose title will be vice president of operations, will help the company expand production in both the U.S. and Europe while working with Think partner Itochu at building out Japan operations. He will split time between the U.S. and Think's Oslo headquarters. more

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VW Extends CEO Winterkorn's Contract

By Michelle Krebs January 4, 2011

Volkswagen has extended the contract of CEO Martin Winterkorn, one of AutoObserver's newsmakers of 2010, for another five years, in order to complete the merger with Porsche. Winterkorn became CEO in early 2007; his contract was to expire at the end of this year. His new contract runs through year-end 2016. The contract extension is seen as a vote of confidence by VW's board that Winterkorn has the automaker on the right track.  Winterkorn has boldly embraced his company's full intention to become the global top dog in sales by 2018. He backed that up by building VW's first more

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Ewanick Leaps into Role of First-Ever GM Global Marketing Czar

By Dale Buss December 20, 2010

Joel Ewanick last week was named the first-ever global marketing czar for General Motors Co. He vowed to focus on empowering GM's brands around the world each to play to their regional strengths rather than take what he called a top-down, "cookie-cutter approach." "It's easy to 'peanut-butter' a marketing idea around the world: take a big idea and spread it everywhere," Ewanick told AutoObserver.com in an interview the same day it was announced he would be GM's global chief marketing officer. "We're not looking for easy solutions, but hard solutions - we're looking for the character of a Chevrolet, more

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