Tony Posawatz is a familiar face in the green car world, having played a prominent and public role in the development of the Chevrolet Volt as the vehicle line director for GM's plug-in hybrid. Today, we learn that Posawatz – who retired from GM last month – will be spending even more time with an extended range powertrain vehicle, the Fisker Karma. This is because Posawatz was just named the new CEO of Fisker, replacing Tom LaSorda, who has only been in that position since February. Apparently, the rumor that Posawatz was "stepping down to spend more time with his family," wasn't exactly true.

In a statement, LaSorda said, "Tony is the perfect CEO for Fisker. He has been at the forefront of the industry's technological revolution and one of the few people in the world to bring an EV to mass production." Henrik Fisker, the company's executive chairman and co-founder, said Posawatz, "will ensure that Fisker is well positioned to maximize the potential of not only the Karma sedan, but also bring the Fisker Atlantic smoothly to market."

Posawatz will have his hands full leading Fisker, given things like spontaneous vehicle fires, fallout from earlier battery issues and money flow. But nothing should be too difficult for the person who first came up with the term "range anxiety," right?

In other Fisker news, the company said today it has added Joseph Chao as executive vice president and CEO of China and Asia and Alberto Gonzalez as vice president of manufacturing. Details below.
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Carmaker Appoints New Chief Executive and Expands Global Management with Asia and Manufacturing roles
  • Tony Posawatz becomes CEO as Tom LaSorda finds successor
  • Joe Chao to lead expansion in China and Asia
  • Alberto Gonzalez named VP of Manufacturing
Anaheim, California, USA – August 14, 2012: Fisker Automotive, the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended range (EVer), today named Tony Posawatz, the former head of the Volt program at General Motors as its new Chief Executive Officer.

A well-known automotive industry professional with more than 30 years of experience in product development, strategy, program management, manufacturing and quality at General Motors, Posawatz's last role was as GM's Vehicle Line Director and key leader of Global Electric Vehicle development, where he was responsible for the award-winning Chevrolet Volt – bringing the car from concept to production.

"We are delighted to be adding an executive of Tony's caliber to the Fisker Automotive leadership team," said Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Henrik Fisker. "His depth of knowledge and experience in this innovative field of new technology means that he is one of the world's most experienced leaders in vehicle electrification technology and the plug-in ecosystem. In the long-term he will ensure that Fisker is well positioned to maximize the potential of not only the Karma sedan, but also bring the Fisker Atlantic smoothly to market."

Posawatz has consistently been recognized as an industry leader in product innovation and electrified vehicles and served as Chairman of the Board for the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA). In addition he led GM's initial efforts on hybrid programs and related technology development and was "employee number one" and founding member of the Chevrolet Volt program back in 2006.
"Tony is the perfect CEO for Fisker," said Tom LaSorda. "He has been at the forefront of the industry's technological revolution and one of the few people in the world to bring an EV to mass production.

"Part of my assignment at Fisker was to recruit a long-term CEO and I cannot think of a better person than Tony to take us forward. He is a real product guy for a product driven company," added LaSorda

Said Henrik Fisker, "Ultimately, Fisker Automotive is all about products that challenge the way that we think about cars for the next generation. Tony's expertise will guarantee that Fisker leads the way with its second-generation powertrain technology for the Atlantic and other future Fisker products."

Fisker Automotive is also pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph Chao as Executive Vice
President and CEO of China and Asia.

Chao brings more than 30 years of engineering, manufacturing and international business operations knowledge from GM, Chrysler and Daimler Chrysler where he served as President and CEO of Beijing Benz Ltd. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of SG Automotive in China and will now pave the way for Fisker's entry into the Chinese market later in 2012.

"Joe is a seasoned veteran and someone that I have worked with for more than 20 years," said Tom LaSorda. "He has outstanding experience in China and will be a great leader to launch the Fisker brand in both China and the rest of Asia."

Fisker is also pleased to announce the appointment of Alberto Gonzalez as Vice President of Manufacturing. Gonzalez also brings more than 30 years of global automotive manufacturing and assembly experience from Chrysler where he operated high-volume assembly plants in the US, Mexico and Canada.

Adds Henrik Fisker, "With these new appointments, we are sending a strong signal about Fisker Automotive and our future plans to develop the next generation of powertrain technology, bring more new Fisker products to market and expand our global sales footprint.

"Since the turn of the year we have strengthened our core executive leadership team with experienced industry professionals who will take Fisker to the next level. With Tony Posawatz as CEO, Jim Yost as CFO, Barny Koehler as Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer, Richard Beattie as Chief Commercial Officer and Joe Chao as CEO of China and Asia I believe we have an unbeatable team that can establish Fisker as a true global force and bring the highly anticipated Fisker Atlantic to market."

Comments Fisker Automotive's lead Board Director and largest investor, Ray Lane: "Fisker Automotive continues to build an amazing portfolio of talent that will truly establish the company as the leader in next-generation automotive technology. Tony's vast experience in this field makes him the perfect candidate to lead us into this exciting new future. To have such a globally recognized product leader is a huge coup for the company."

About Fisker Automotive, Inc.

Fisker Automotive is a new automaker with a mission to build an innovative, eco-driven company that redefines and reshapes how the world thinks about cars. The company is leading the auto industry with its unique Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer™) powertrain technology, which combines the power and efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of a gasoline engine.

Fisker was established in Southern California in 2007 by top auto designer Henrik Fisker and business partner Bernhard Koehler. In 2008 Fisker unveiled the Karma, the world's first luxury Electric Vehicle with extended range. On sale since December 2011 the Karma was delivered to the market in record time. The Karma is the first and only American car to have won the coveted BBC Top Gear Luxury Car of the Year award, Automobile magazine named it 2012 Design of the Year, and TIME magazine listed the Karma one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011.

Fisker is headquartered in Anaheim, California and markets its products through a growing network of independent retailers around the world. Fisker Automotive can be found online at www.fiskerautomotive.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Be sure to rearrange the deck chairs, Tony. It will look much nicer.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Congrats to Mr. Posawatz on the new position! All those who disliked Mr. Lasorda (2WM, Joeviocoe, JeremyD) should be relieved that an industry leader in the development of PHEVs has the opportunity to show what a fledgeling automaker can do.
        Spiffster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Spiffster = JeremyD... Yes, I think Posawatz is a much better fit for Fisker.
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I guess LaSorda couldn't find a buyer for Fisker at agreeable terms (not that there is anything wrong with that).
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          Fisker was never for sale.
          PR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          LTW For the record, I guess you didn't see the implied /sarc tag. I thought that quoting a line out of a Seinfeld episode was enough of a tip-off, but I guess I was wrong. I'll be better with my /sarc tags from now on. But seriously, unless you have access to the minutes of Fisker's Board of Director's meetings, you cannot say for certain that Fisker wasn't at least shopping around for options. It is normal in the business world for Boards of Directors to enter into talks with other companies to consider the value of mergers and acquisitions between companies as part of their governance responsibilities to the stockholders and/or private business investors. Even if the talks go nowhere, it is part of their duty to consider all options at all times, and it is regular everyday stuff for them to consider. Personally, I have nothing invested in the Fisker Atlantic being built by Fisker alone, or as "Fisker, a division of BMW" or "Fisker, a division of Fiat". Fisker having a parent company and making an REEV only matters to me if it helps them build more mass-market Atlantics sooner. Anything that helps get those cars out the door faster is fine with me, and doesn't reflect at all upon the ultimate success of the product itself. --------------------- OMG!! Now I'm going to be accused of being on the Board of Directors of Tesla by Marco Polo! Damn, I've got way too many jobs!
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Hey... I don't even know who that is!
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          yes, thoroughly confused :)
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          My apologies Joeviocoe - I seemed to recall you painting Mr. Lasorda with a negative brush, but after re-reading that post it appears that you were only confused as to what Marcopolo was trying to say about him: Marcopolo described him as "proved he can run a corporation during the worst of times. ", later clarified to mean "...a skilled auto-executive in difficult circumstances..." You thought Marcopolo had meant that Mr. Lasorda was brought in "...to do damage control... because losing is inevitable and he is the best man to "mitigate losses"." You assumed that Marcopolo meant that Mr. Lasorda was brought in help Fisker's "inevitable bankruptcy". It has become clear that Mr. Lasorda was given a few specific tasks, among them, finding a new CEO to take the company forward. "Part of my assignment at Fisker was to recruit a long-term CEO and I cannot think of a better person than Tony to take us forward. He is a real product guy for a product driven company," added LaSorda.
          PR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Now that is funny! *grin*
      Aaron
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hope he doesn't get employment anxiety if his job at Fisker doesn't last long.
      Scambuster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Finally, we have discovered the connection between the electric craps from GM and Frisker: Tony Posawatz. His is a kiss of death.
      Peter
      • 2 Years Ago
      I will resist catty comments and merely wish him and the company well. There are a hoard of Beiber philes that now know that its cool to drive electric. Its trail blazers like Fisker that pave the way for mass market appeal for electric cars.
        Anne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Peter
        "hoard of Beiber philes that now know that its cool to drive electric" There can be situations when brain washing children is good. >:)
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Anne
          And most children have very dirty minds! - I certainly did! :-)
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good luck to Mr. Posawatz, as Fisker needs all the experienced hands they can get. A bit disconcerting that GM has lost a good number of top people that were involved with bringing the Volt to reality.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is very good news for Fisker. Tony Posawatz brings a great deal of logistical experience to Fisker and would certainly not choose to work for a company he didn't have good reason could succeed. His commitment to EV development can be evidenced by his Co-Chairmanship of the Electric Drive Transportation Association and membership of the Board of Advisors at GridPoint. On the other hand, it's to be hoped that Fisker's other directors can compensate for Tony Posawatz's lack of experience outside the world of GM's corporate structure. Tom La Sorda is to be congratulated for doing his usual excellent job of restructuring and instituting valuable future policies. It's good to see that he will remain with Fisker in an advisory capacity.
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