PPG To Acquire Industria Chimica Reggiana

PPG has announced that it will acquire Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR), a manufacturer of paints and coatings for the automotive refinish and light industrial coatings industries. The company expects the deal to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, however it has not revealed financial terms.

Formed in 1961, ICR is based in Italy and manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats under the SPRINT brand. The company also makes a complete range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs approximately 180 people and sells its products in over 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Latin America.

“PPG’s acquisition of ICR will complement our current product offering for the automotive refinish and light industrial coatings industries and add specialised, value-added products that address the needs of distributors and body shops,” said Gary Danowski, PPG Vice President of Global Automotive Refinish. “We look forward to continuing to deliver the trusted products and services upon which ICR customers have come to rely [on], and we are very excited to welcome ICR employees to PPG.”

PPG Appoints New VP Of Global Automotive Refinish Coatings

PPG has announced that Chancey Hagerty, the current Vice President of Global Industrial Coatings, will become Vice President of Global Automotive Refinish Coatings in March.

Hagerty will report to Tim Knavish, PPG Executive Vice President, and continue to be a member of the Operating Committee. Hagerty will succeed Gary Danowski, who currently holds the position, when he retires in March.

“Gary has been the embodiment of a PPG leader throughout his 38-year career, a true team player who rose to any challenge,” said Michael H. McGarry, PPG Chairman and CEO. “His leadership in five businesses has strengthened the organisation and allowed PPG to serve customers in new ways. We thank Gary for his many years of tremendous service, and congratulate Chancey, Kevin and Andrew on their key leadership positions. We are pleased to have a talented group of leaders with broad, proven experience, which provides continuity in driving our global business strategies and delivering shareholder value.”

Hagerty joined PPG in 1996 at the company’s former chemicals plant in West Virginia and has since held various roles which include plant-engineer and sales for industrial coatings. Hagerty held multiple positions of increasing responsibility within both the industrial and automotive OEM coatings business units and was also the General Manager of Industrial Coatings, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in Switzerland before receiving his current position in January of 2019.

Luca De Meo Rumoured Lead In Renault CEO Race

Luca de Meo, an Italian who has worked at many European car manufacturers before running Volkswagen’s Spanish brand, SEAT, is being labelled the front-runner to become CEO of Renault, said people familiar with the matter.

De Meo has leadership experience in the automotive industry, diplomatic skills, speaks five languages, has helped freshen the model line-up at SEAT and has lead the company to profitability. De Meo has spent 25 years working for various European car manufacturers including Renault, Toyota, FCA, Volkswagen and SEAT, where he has since remained as Chairman on the Executive Committee.

Renault began the CEO search after removing Thierry Bollore, who held the position for under a year after the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in November 2018. Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has said that it would be more preferable to make a selection by the end of the year, but it will not be a problem if it takes longer.

While Renault is narrowing the list of candidates, no decision has been made and other contenders remain in the running, said people asking not to be identified over confidential matters. The company will complete its shortlist soon, before submitting it to the board for review, according to the sources.

BASF To Build New Automotive Refinish Coatings Site In China

BASF will build a new automotive refinish coatings site in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, China in the first half of 2022.

“Guangdong Province is of strategic importance to BASF in Greater China,” said Zheng Daqing, Senior Vice President, Business and Market Development, BASF Greater China. “The investment in Jiangmen will double the production capacity of the site. Located in the fast-growing area of the Pearl River Delta, the new facility will enable us to be even closer to our customers, further supporting the automotive industry.”

Acquired from a local family business in 2016, BASF Coatings (Guangdong) Co., Ltd. is the company’s first automotive refinish coatings production site in Asia. The company says in the past three years, the site has become a world-class production facility, supported by continuous investments in environment, health and safety, product quality, people, and research and development.

After the acquisition, BASF formed a technology hub in Jiangmen to focus on colour technology and developing sustainable high-performance products for the refinish and commercial transportation segments in Asia Pacific.

“We have upgraded the production and environmental protection facilities to meet BASF’s world-class standards,” said Patrick Zhao, Senior Vice President, BASF Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific. “At the same time, we have enhanced the skillsets of our employees, with one focus being on environment, health and safety practices. This is how we have built a professional, competitive team and fostered a safe and sustainable corporate culture. We now have the full capability to serve the growing local and regional value-for-money market with strong product and solution offerings.”

BASF said its environmental credentials and contributions were recognised by the local Environmental Protection Bureau of Jiangmen when it was named a “Green Brand” in October 2018.

Hadi Zablit Named Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Secretary General

Hadi Zablit has been named as the new Secretary General for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi automotive alliance. He will oversee industrial cooperation projects and improve the efficiency and financial performance of the partnership.

Zablit is currently the Business Development Chief for the French-Japanese alliance, which sold 10.6 million vehicles worldwide in 2017. Zablit first joined Renault as an engineer and product manager in 1994, leaving to work for the Boston Consulting Group in 2000 before returning to the company just under three years ago.

The change was spurred by the alliance looking for a new start following the arrest and legal battles of ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was detained last November over allegations of financial impropriety.

Ghosn is now out on bail after more than four months in a Japanese detention centre. He faces charges of deferring part of his salary until after his retirement and concealing this from shareholders, as well as siphoning off millions in Nissan cash for his own purposes.

Suncorp Invests In Vehicle Sharing Company

Suncorp has invested $1.5 million in peer-to-peer car rental company Car Next Door, and will have a board observer seat as part of a $10 million funding round in order to better understand changing vehicle use.

“We know the traditional way Australians own and use cars is evolving and this partnership will allow us to learn and better service our customer needs,” said Gary Dransfield, Chief Executive Officer Insurance at Suncorp.

Car Next Door started in 2013 with 20 cars and 60 borrowers, allowing vehicle owners to earn money by renting them out. Since then, more than 3000 cars have been shared through the platform.

Suncorp says the partnership will include the development of innovative insurance products and joint promotional activity.

“We can support Car Next Door’s members with insurance, and we can also introduce our customers to a new way to safely and easily rent out their cars in their own neighbourhoods,” said Dransfield.

Steve Johnston, CEO of Suncorp Group, said that embedding digital and data in product design and distribution remains a key area of focus.

“This has most recently been demonstrated as we internally pilot Bingle Go, a market-first insurance product designed specifically for customers who rely on more than their car for their everyday commute,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that the reinsurance team was continuing to review options ahead of a number of multi-year programs expiring at the end of June.

“Based on discussions with the reinsurers we remain confident there will be strong demand for Suncorp’s program,” said Johnston.

Axalta Receives 2018 Masters Of Quality Supplier Award

Axalta Coating Systems hosted a ceremony where the company accepted the Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) 2018 Masters of Quality Supplier award.

The award honours top suppliers of components and services to Freightliner Trucks and Western Star brand trucks and recognises outstanding suppliers that have received high scores based on their quality, delivery, technology and cost performance as measured on a balanced scorecard basis. Axalta says such suppliers demonstrate dedication to continuous improvement of the quality of their products, support to DTNA and overall performance.

“It’s a great day of celebration for our employees as we recognise their incredible contributions for this prestigious award,” said Joseph Wood, Axalta Vice President-Commercial Transportation Coatings. “Daimler’s recognition is a great honour for the entire Axalta team. This award acknowledges our commitment to our customers, to providing exceptional service and support, and to offering outstanding products. We look forward to continuing this tremendous relationship with Daimler Trucks North America.”

“It is with the commitment and support of all our suppliers that we can provide our customers with the quality, service and highest levels of product innovations in the industry,” said Jeff Allen, SVP of Operations and Specialty Vehicles for Daimler Trucks North America. “We are pleased to recognise the 45 Masters of Quality award recipients who have excelled in their commitment to excellence, and we appreciate their continued partnership.”

Hyundai Australia Appoints Jun Heo As CEO

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has appointed Jun Heo as CEO. Heo joins the Australian division from Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, where he was Department Head for the India and Asia Pacific region.

Heo first joined HMC in 2000 and has worked in the United States, Mexico and India. He replaces previous CEO JW Lee, who has been assigned a new international markets role based at HMC headquarters.

“I am proud and honoured to join Hyundai Motor Company Australia as Chief Executive Officer,” said Heo. “For market share, brand history and the popularity of models across the portfolio, Hyundai Australia is seen as one of our company’s most successful markets globally.

“We will continue to play a key role as we develop our organisation as part of HMC’s global strategy. I look forward to working with the Australian team as we challenge the market in the future, through a dedication to progress, customer care and world-beating products.”

Penske Buys Indy Speedway, IndyCar Series

Roger Penske has announced that he will purchase the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series and multiple other subsidiaries such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions. Expected to close in early January, the deal will see Penske become the fourth owner of the 110-year old track.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Co, the current owner. “But very exciting because we know we’re passing the torch to an individual who has created the organisation that is not only dynamic but ideally suited, I think, to take over the stewardship, a corporation that is family-involved much like ours, but with a track record that is really without compare.”

There are no management changes planned for now, but members of a board to oversee operations will be announced when the deal closes. Penske declined to share the value of the transaction, but said he planned to invest capital into the property.

“It was a great business opportunity for us to grow it to the next level,” Penske said. “We say, ‘Can this be the entertainment capital, not only the racing capital of the world, but the entertainment capital of the world in Indiana?’”

Penske said he plans to walk the entire facility and then start developing with stakeholders a list of top 10 priorities to improve the racetrack, grow the IndyCar Series and attract other events, including from NASCAR and Formula 1. Attracting a third car manufacturing partner is also a priority, according to Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co.

Penske addressed concerns on the new ownership of the racing series and his racing presenting a conflict of interest, saying he expects he will take more time away from the pit stand, while the sanctioning body of IndyCar will be a separate company.

“I understand the integrity, and there’s got to be a bright line,” Penske said. “To me, I know what my job is and hopefully we have enough credibility with everyone, and we can be sure that is not a conflict.”

In the past, Penske has also expressed an interest in seeing guaranteed spots for IndyCar regulars in the Indianapolis 500, saying that it’s something that could be discussed in the future.

“Some of the excitement’s been in the past that we wanted some people to come in the race. We also understand people who commit to the entire season and take this series around the country, around the world potentially, we need to make sure they’re taken care of. I think it’s a debate, but at this point, I wouldn’t comment one way or the other.”

Penske’s race team celebrated its 50th anniversary of first competing at Indianapolis this year. The team also holds the achievement of most wins in Indianapolis 500 history with 18 victories.

Suncorp Banking And Wealth CEO Moves To RACQ

Suncorp Banking and Wealth CEO David Carter has resigned from his post at Suncorp to become Group CEO at RACQ.

Carter will leave the company in early 2020 after 14 years at Suncorp and over three years in the CEO role. Carter joined the company in 2006 as Executive General Manager for advice solutions and, since then, has held a number of leadership roles, both in Australia and New Zealand.

“[David] has been a great contributor to the leadership team, and on behalf of everyone at Suncorp, we wish him well in his new role,” said Steve Johnston, CEO of Suncorp Group. “We are now well placed to continue to build on this success and leverage the investments we have made.”

The bank has implemented some customer initiatives under Carter’s leadership including Apple and Google Pay, the staged rollout of the New Payments Platform, and building the foundations for Suncorp’s digital banking strategy.

Suncorp said it has begun a robust recruitment process and was considering candidates from Australia and overseas to find Carter’s replacement.

“It is an exciting time for Mr Carter to take on this role leading Queensland’s largest club when the organisation has never been stronger and where it now has almost 1.8 million Queensland members in more than 70 per cent of the state’s homes.” said Bronwyn Morris, RACQ President and Chair.

“RACQ’s status as one of Australia’s most trusted brands and the diversity of its business lines makes it a truly unique organisation,” said Carter. “I look forward to leading Queensland’s largest club and market-leading financial services companies.”