5324 Marelli, aiming for top five ranking, names Harman exec as CEO

Marelli, aiming for top five ranking, names Harman exec as CEO

Marelli has named David Slump, 54, an executive at Harman International, as its new CEO, with a target of growing the Japan-based company into one of the world’s five largest automotive suppliers.

Slump is replacing Beda Bolzenius, 65, who is retiring, Marelli said. Bolzenius has led the supplier since it was formed in 2019 after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sold its Magneti Marelli parts unit to Japan’s Calsonic Kansei in a $6.5 billion deal. The two companies were merged to create Marelli, which is fully owned by the U.S. private equity giant KKR.

Marelli is a leading supplier in automotive lighting and sensing technologies (lidar, radar and cameras), and wants to quickly expand its share in electrification, interiors, electronics and software. 

“David is tenacious, collaborative and fast and he is the right person to take Marelli to the next level,” Dinesh Paliwal, partner at KKR and executive chairman at Marelli, told Automotive News Europe in a video interview.

Slump was most recently president of global markets, strategy and services at Harman, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics that designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers and businesses, including connected car systems, and audio and visual products.

A graduate of Iowa State University and the University of Chicago, Slump has held senior roles in the automotive and energy sectors, including management positions at General Electric and ABB. He joined Harman in 2009.

Paliwal, 64, who has worked with Slump in their previous tenures at ABB and Harman, said the new CEO has deep experience in the auto industry and the regions where Marelli operates. 

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“David’s ability to think strategically, rapid decision-making and focus on execution is the right combination that Marelli needs today to reach its next goal: to become one of the world’s five largest auto suppliers within five years,” Paliwal said.

Marelli, which has 170 facilities and R&D centers across Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, ranks No. 18 on the Automotive News Europe list of top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $11.57 billion in 2020.

It is just behind Chinese interior supplier Yanfeng at $12.18 billion and ahead of ADAS supplier Aptiv at $11.48 billion. To reach component maker Aisin at No. 5 ($31.94 billion) Marelli would need to more than double its sales.

In September, Marelli said it would eliminate about 1,500 office workers this year in a cost-cutting move, according to Bloomberg.

Paliwal, who oversees KKR’s investments in the auto sector, says Slump will target growth in electrification and software for electric and electrified products. At the same time, he said, Marelli will continue to invest in engine management systems for internal combustion engines, which will remain relevant globally relevant until at least 2035, he said.

“I believe strongly in the strategy already in place to make the company more cost competitive, more streamlined, more targeted towards the future of mobility and electrification,” Slump said in a statement. 

Bolzenius has had a long career in the automotive industry. He was named CEO of Calsonic Kansei in 2018 ahead of the acquisition of Magneti Marelli. Before that, he spent 10 years at Johnson Controls after two decades at Robert Bosch, which he joined in 1986 after receiving a doctorate in physics.

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