Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda takes over as Fisker front manTue, 28 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda is taking over as chief executive of Fisker Automotive from founder Henrik Fisker.
Fisker, 48, will pass daily-operations duties to LaSorda, 57. Fisker, a former Aston Martin and BMW designer, will focus on growing the company in overseas markets, building brand awareness and design. His new title is executive chairman.
Fisker Automotive is launching its first car, the Karma sedan, in the United States and Europe. The Karma runs on electric power and extends range with an Ecotec four-cylinder engine sourced from General Motors.
Fisker recruited LaSorda, who was Chrysler CEO from 2005 to 2007, to take over as his successor. LaSorda had been advising Fisker Automotive and serving as vice chairman.
“We have a great opportunity to grow this business, to make it very, very successful,” said LaSorda, who has a stake in the company.
Plans for Fisker's second vehicle, dubbed Project Nina, hit a speed bump recently when the company was forced to lay off 26 workers at its Delaware factory while ironing out details of a federal loan.
The executives, however, said work continues on the project, including virtual engineering. Additionally, Fisker says it might not take any more federal money and says it can raise sufficient funds on its own.
So far, about 2,000 versions of the Karma have been produced, and roughly 840 have been shipped to dealerships as of late February in the U.S. and Canadian markets. European deliveries are just now getting under way.
Press Release: Fisker Automotive Appoints Tom LaSorda As CEO
Co-Founder Henrik Fisker Becomes Executive Chairman of the Company
Anaheim, California USA – February 28, 2012: Fisker Automotive is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Co-Founder Henrik Fisker will become Executive Chairman of the company, and Tom LaSorda is appointed CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board, with full responsibility for the running of the company's day to day operations.
Henrik Fisker, who co-founded Fisker Automotive in 2007 after an illustrious design career at brands including BMW and Aston Martin, will focus on building the Fisker brand in global markets and the styling and design of future Fisker models.
“We have created a new automotive company, launched a new Electric Vehicle extended range technology and brought the Fisker Karma to market successfully in a remarkably short timeframe,” says Henrik Fisker.
“The Fisker Karma is the first car designed and engineered in America to win BBC Top Gear's prestigious Luxury Car of the Year Award, as well as numerous other accolades, and that is something of which I am immensely proud.”
“I am looking forward to working closely with Tom as we steer the company into its future as an iconic global automotive brand with a range of desirable cars that offer environmentally responsible luxury.”
Tom LaSorda, who joined the company as Vice Chairman of the Board and executive advisor to the management team in December, will assume full CEO responsibilities and day to day operational management.
A well-known industry executive, with more than 30-years experience, LaSorda was a former CEO, President and Vice Chairman of the Chrysler Group and also held a number of executive positions at General Motors over a 23 year career.
“I am delighted to be assuming such a central role at this exciting time in Fisker Automotive's history,” says LaSorda.
“The Fisker Automotive team has designed and engineered a great range-extended electric car with industry leading technology and it gives me great pleasure to be working together with the co-founders, Henrik Fisker and Barny Koehler to build Fisker Automotive into a global automotive company.”
“As part of our future strategy, we will be seeking strong partnerships and alliances as Fisker continues to grow as a brand.”
With the re-organization, Chairman of the Board, Ray Lane will assume a lead director role, as Henrik Fisker takes on the Executive Chairman role.
“Ray has been an invaluable guide and help to us as we have grown this company and its financial strength over the past few years. For a company to raise over $860m of private equity is a remarkable achievement and Ray's support and guidance has been a key factor in that,” remarks Henrik Fisker.
“I am looking forward to working with the new leadership team as we move to the next level in the company's history,” says Ray Lane.
By Greg Migliore