Despite recently renewing his contract with Chrysler, it's looking more and more like Tom LaSorda's days at the automaker are numbered. This morning, Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli revealed that Jim Press would be joining the company as Vice Chairman and President, the same title LaSorda has on his recently-updated business cards. Until today, Press had been none other than President and COO of Toyota North America, quietly leading the Japanese automaker's charge in the U.S. for more market share.
Press will be in charge of North American Sales, International Sales, Global Marketing, Product Strategy, and Service and Parts ,while LaSorda is still responsible for manufacturing, purchasing, labor and Global Business Development and Alliances.
The full press release is after the jump.
September 6, 2007AUBURN HILLS, MICH. – Chrysler LLC Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli today announced the appointment of James Press as Vice Chairman and President. Press, who was President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motors in North America Inc. and a Director of the parent company, will now be responsible for North American Sales, International Sales, Global Marketing, Product Strategy, and Service and Parts for Chrysler LLC.
"Tom LaSorda and I are thrilled that one of the most successful executives in the history of the auto industry has joined our leadership team at the New Chrysler," said Nardelli. "Our top team now consists of a world-class 'supply' leader in Tom and an equally world-class 'demand' leader in Jim."
"I've known Jim for many years and know that he will hit the ground sprinting," said LaSorda. "I look forward to partnering with him and Bob as part of the Office of the Chairman."
Press joins LaSorda as a Vice Chairman and President, reporting to Nardelli. LaSorda's responsibilities will continue to include Manufacturing, Procurement and Supply, Employee Relations and Global Business Development and Alliances.
"I am grateful for the support and opportunities I received during my three-plus decades at Toyota," said Press. "I relish this new opportunity with the Chrysler team to be a part of the resurgence of a true American icon here and around the world. Part of my new responsibilities will be strengthening and energizing the dealer body. This is something I was passionate about at Toyota and will be passionate about at Chrysler."
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Press joins Chrysler after 37 years with Toyota, where he most recently served as the first non-Japanese President of Toyota Motor North America Inc., responsible for sales, engineering and the company's 15 manufacturing plants with 41,000 employees in North America. He was also the first non-Japanese executive selected to the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Corporation.
During his tenure at Toyota, the company grew from an upstart new company selling 100,000 vehicles per year to the second largest auto company in the United States.
Press becomes a member of the Chrysler LLC Board of Directors and the Board of Managers of Cerberus Operations and Advisory Co. (COAC), LLC. Press joins LaSorda as Vice Chairman of COAC.