Gentherm, a global provider of thermal management technologies, has announced that Chairman of the Board, Francois Castaing, has informed the company’s board of directors of his intention to retire at the end of his current term and will not be standing for re-election at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders that is expected to be held in May 2020.
Castaing has served as a director of the company since 2001 and as chairman since 2016. He also held positions as chair of the Nominating Committee, member of the Compensation and Technology Committees and was the former Lead Independent Director.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Francois for the lasting impact he has made on the automotive industry, our community and his contributions to Gentherm, where he has served our company with great distinction,” said Phil Eyler, president and CEO of Gentherm. “We are grateful for his unwavering dedication, vision and leadership. Personally, I have benefitted greatly from Francois’ mentorship and guidance. We wish Francois well as he embarks on his next adventure.”
Over his more than 30-year career, Castaing is recognized as a visionary change-agent who helped transform the automotive industry. As an executive with Chrysler, American Motors and Renault, his passion for cars was built on his love to create and to help make a difference in the lives of others. Using his engineering education, he began his career with Gordini designing engines for the 24 Hours of Le Mans races. When Gordini was taken over by Renault his career continued to advance as Renault’s Sport Technical Director. He then joined American Motors (AMC), where in his roles of vice president of engineering and group vice president product and quality, his product engineering leadership resulted in him being widely known as the “father of the Jeep Cherokee.” In 1987, after Chrysler acquired AMC, Castaing continued to transform Chrysler’s vehicle line-up as vice president of vehicle engineering and president of Chrysler International where he propelled Chrysler’s growth during the 1990s.
Castaing finished his distinguished career with Chrysler in 2000 as technical adviser to Chairman Bob Eaton. As a result of his impressive number of accomplishments in motorsports and automotive product development, Castaing was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2010.
His passion extended outside of the automotive industry, where he dedicated his time to serve his community and was a strong advocate of promoting diversity. A few examples of his lasting legacy include being the chairman of the New Detroit Science Center, where under his leadership the Center was able to reopen to the public in 2001. He also led the launch of the Michigan chapter of FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, the robotics competition for high school students, which now includes more than 2,800 teams and 31,000 student participants.
“It has been a great privilege to serve Gentherm for the past 19 years. The company’s ingenuity, passion and commitment to its customers are what make Gentherm such an extraordinary company,” said Castaing. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished and to have been part of its history. I have tremendous confidence in Ron, the board and the company’s leadership, and believe that Gentherm’s best days are yet to come.”
The board of directors unanimously agreed to appoint Ronald Hundzinski as the new chairman of the board, effective as of the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, subject to Hundzinski’s re-election.
“Gentherm is in a strong position for future growth, and with an outstanding Board with Ron as chairman, I am confident in our continued success to reach our goals,” said Eyler.
Hundzinski has served as a director of the company since 2016 and the chair of the Audit committee and member of the Nominating committee. He is the CFO and an executive director of TI Fluid Systems, a global supplier of automotive fluid systems technology. Prior to that he was the executive vice president of finance for Tenneco. From 2012 to 2018, Hundzinski served as the CFO and executive vice president of BorgWarner Inc. Hundzinski holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Colorado.
“It has been a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors with Francois and I am honored to have been chosen to succeed him as the chairman of the board for Gentherm,” said Hundzinski. “Driven by our vision to create and deliver extraordinary thermal solutions, Gentherm is well-positioned for success.”