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Chrysler Lures More Top Talent

Old 09-07-2007, 09:16 AM
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Default Chrysler Lures More Top Talent

Chrysler Continues to Build Executive Team, Names SAIC Motor Exec to Head Asia

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Chrysler lured its second high-profile executive in as many days, appointing SAIC Motor Corp.'s Phil Murtaugh as chief executive of its Asian operations Friday.

Murtaugh has served as vice president of GM's joint venture partner in China since June 2006.

Chrysler is quickly assembling an executive team under new private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management. On Thursday Toyota Motor Corp.'s top North American executive, Jim Press, was named vice chairman and president.

Cerberus announced Aug. 6 that Robert Nardelli, the former CEO of Home Depot Inc., would become Chrysler's chairman and chief executive. Later in August, Chrysler hired Deborah Wahl Meyer, 44, a top marketing executive from Toyota's Lexus luxury brand and a colleague of Press.

Murtaugh, who joined SAIC Motor Corp. in June 2006, called a job with Chrysler "an offer I just cannot turn down."

His experience heading GM's joint venture with state-owned SAIC, and as chief executive officer of South Korea's Ssangyong Motor Co., will be an asset for Chrysler as it attempts to expand in Asia.

Global growth is a key part of the recovery plan for Chrysler, which has struggled to make a profit in the face of falling sales and skyrocketing pension and retiree health costs.

Chrysler recently announced a deal with China's biggest independent car company, Chery Automobile Co., to jointly produce and export cars to Western Europe and the United States.

SAIC applauded Murtaugh's contribution to the Shanghai-based automaker's efforts to build up its own-brand business after nearly a decade of working with GM.

Murtaugh "contributed his rich experience in the auto industry and demonstrated solid capabilities as a professional manager," SAIC said in a statement.

SAIC has partnerships with both GM and Germany's Volkswagen AG, but has begun selling cars under its own Roewe brand.

Murtaugh's departure appeared to take many in the industry by surprise, though the move was not out of character for the former chief of General Motors' China operations.

Murtaugh was widely credited with helping GM establish a leading presence in the increasingly competitive Chinese market. He abruptly left the Detroit-based automaker in 2005 after nearly five years with GM's China Group, citing "personal reasons."

He had spent 32 years with GM, where he played a key role in the launch of Shanghai GM, the company's biggest mainland venture.

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Old 09-07-2007, 09:31 AM
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Default RE: Chrysler Lures More Top Talent

If they could get some executives who are incharge of some of the Australian production, I think that would help significantly.
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