GM's Hogan Defects to Magna - aftermarketNews

GM’s Hogan Defects to Magna

Mark Hogan, the head of advanced vehicle development at General Motors Corp., is leaving at the end of the month to become president of Canadian auto parts giant Magna International Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

From The Detroit News via MEMA Industry News

TORONTO — Mark Hogan, the head of advanced vehicle development at General Motors Corp., is leaving at the end of the month to become president of Canadian auto parts giant Magna International Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

It marks the first high-level defection in GM’s revamped product development staff since the arrival three years ago of Bob Lutz, the automaker’s product czar and vice chairman. Hogan, who had been mentioned as a possible successor to Lutz, had been considering the move for several weeks. Magna could announce the appointment as soon as this week.

Hogan will replace Belinda Stronach, the daughter of Magna founder Frank Stronach. Belinda Stronach left the company as president and CEO in January to pursue a political career, winning a seat in the Canadian House of Commons.

Since joining GM in 1973 as a factory analyst in the automaker’s Electro-Motive division, Hogan has held a variety of posts. Prior to his current position, he led the automaker’s Internet business unit, small car operations and GM Brazil.

An outspoken executive, Hogan sometimes stood out within GM’s button-down bureaucracy. In the late 1990s, he championed a plan to turn a large chuck of GM’s small car assembly operations over to suppliers to provide major parts modules. The controversial move was scuttled after the United Auto Workers union protested, fearing major job losses inside GM plants if suppliers took on more assembly duties.

Shortly after Lutz’s arrival in September 2001, Hogan was named to lead GM’s new advanced vehicle development department to foster more creative designs and speed new vehicles to market.

“GM has introduced a lot of products [since Hogan took over advanced vehicle development] and some performed better than others,” said Mike Wall, an analyst with Farmington Hills, Mich.-based consultants CSM Worldwide. “They’re still struggling with market share but I don’t think there’s one fall guy.”

Hogan is the second high-level GM executive to leave this year to head a supplier. In March, GM Europe President Mike Burns resigned to become president and CEO at Toledo, Ohio-based Dana Corp. He was replaced by Fritz Henderson who ran GM’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Magna is among the world’s fastest-growing auto suppliers with 2003 sales of $15.3 billion and 77,000 employees. It produces many different automotive products, including interiors, metal body systems, mirrors and body panels. Its sales and manufacturing growth has made it a target of UAW recruiting efforts.

In Europe, Magna has begun developing and building key light vehicles such as Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Voyager minivan and BMW X3 SUV. Magna sought a new chief with close ties with Detroit automakers, which have developed strained relations with some suppliers over pricing.

GM is Magna’s second-largest customer, accounting for about $3.67 billion, or 24 percent, of the parts maker’s revenues last year. In addition to GM, Magna’s major customers include DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Toyota Motor Co.

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