AFR: Suncorp Collecting Capital SMART, ACM Bids

According to a story in the Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column, banking and insurance company Suncorp was expected to today collect bids for Capital SMART and ACM Parts.

The AFR says that neither sale is likely to be material to Suncorp’s balance sheet or profit & loss statement, but is important as part of its simplification strategy.

At Capital SMART, Suncorp has several private equity funds and offshore trade types seeking to buy the business, which is being offered with a long-term supply arrangement with Suncorp’s insurance arm, while ACM Parts is tied to Capital SMART. The newspaper says ACM Parts is considered to be one of the largest alternative parts suppliers in Australia and the largest recycler of collision and mechanical parts, with its customers including Capital SMART and the Gemini/AMA Group.

Suncorp Makes Acting CEO Permanent

Suncorp has appointed acting CEO Steve Johnston as the new permanent head of the company.

Chairman Christine McLoughlin says Suncorp weighed the merits of global and local candidates before confirming Johnston as CEO and Managing Director.

Johnston was Chief Financial Officer until May, when he switched roles following previous CEO Michael Cameron’s sudden exit.

Announcing an 83.5 per cent fall in full-year profit last month, Johnston admitted his predecessor’s so-called ‘marketplace strategy’ had confused customers and halted its rollout to refocus on banking and insurance.

Deputy Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Robson, who has been acting CFO since May, will continue in the role while Suncorp considers internal and external candidates.

Solera Holdings Appoints Jeff Tarr as New CEO

Solera Holdings has announced that Jeff Tarr has joined the company as a director and its new CEO. Tarr, who replaces Tony Aquila as CEO, will lead the company in its next phase of growth.

Tarr has two decades of experience leading data and technology-enabled services companies spanning multiple sectors. Most recently, Tarr served as CEO and President of DigitalGlobe, where he led the launch of products that leveraged AI and other new technologies, entered new markets and nearly tripled the company’s revenue. Before DigitalGlobe, Tarr was President and COO of IHS (now IHS Markit) where he helped transform the business into a high-growth, high-margin provider of information and insight.

“I am honoured to be joining Solera, and I look forward to working with the team to continue to grow the company, invest in our products and deliver an industry-leading experience to Solera’s customers and partners,” said Tarr. “For over 50 years, Solera has been leveraging data and software to serve the automotive and insurance industries. With more than 300 million transactions annually across the Solera ecosystem today, no company is better positioned to apply data and technology to protecting the assets people depend upon in their daily lives.”

Tarr serves on numerous corporate and philanthropic boards, including as Chairman of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, Co-Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Space Technologies, Member of the Board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Axalta’s Charlie Shaver To Lead Specialty Chemicals After Sale Completion

Charles “Charlie” Shaver will join Specialty Chemicals from Axalta, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He will step down as CEO of Axalta on 4 September but will remain Chairman of the Board.

In its strategy to separate Specialty Chemicals from its Paints and Coatings business, AkzoNobel announced in March 2018 that it had agreed to sell its Specialty Chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC. Upon completion of the transaction, expected before the end of 2018, Shaver will head the new company as Chief Executive Officer.

Shaver brings more than 35 years in leadership roles across the global chemical industry. His appointment is subject to completion of the transaction.

Axalta Appoints Yves Kerstens As Vice President And President for EMEA

Axalta has announced the appointment of Yves Kerstens as Vice President and President of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

He succeeds Matthias Schonberg effective as of 1 August 2018 and will be based in Axalta’s EMEA headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Before joining Axalta, Kerstens worked at Bridgestone Corporation for 13 years where he held a number of senior executive roles in the EMEA and the Asia Pacific regions.

He previously worked in the management consulting sector, holding various positions at Capgemini and Ernst & Young Consulting.

Kerstens holds Master’s degrees in Electromechanical Engineering Technology, Industrial Management and International Corporate Governance.

Joe McDougall, Axalta’s Executive Vice President and President of Global Refinish and EMEA, says:

“I am delighted to welcome Yves as Axalta’s new EMEA president.

With his vast leadership experience, he has all the skills necessary to guide our business in the region.

He will have a clear focus on our customers while also looking to expand Axalta’s business interests as well as optimising business processes.”

Ford Creates Autonomous Vehicles Company

Ford Motor Company has announced the creation of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organisation charged with accelerating its autonomous vehicles (AV) business to capitalise on market opportunities.

The new company will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, AV research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. The new limited liability company, which is structured to take on third party investment, will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development. Ford expects to invest US$4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its US$1 billion investment in Argo AI.

Sherif Marakby, currently Ford Vice President Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, will be appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s Executive Vice President and President, Mobility. Ford says the closer alignment of the self-driving platform and mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds.

“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”

With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, Global Director Electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market its next-generation of electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, Executive Vice President and President Global Markets.

Ford’s electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capabilities and features.

In addition, Ford is reorganising its Global Operations division led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs to include Information Technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system, integrating the teams, technologies and processes from both across Ford’s production system. As a result, Jeff Lemmer, Vice President and CIO, will report to Hinrichs.

The realignment will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to further streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories and improve capital efficiency.

All the changes are effective 1 August.