Henson to leave DCX

Lean-manufacturing expert LaSorda to take post

With the departure of another key Chrysler group executive, Thomas LaSorda has been appointed as executive vice president of manufacturing.

LaSorda, 47, takes his post Jan. 1, replacing Gary Henson, 59, who is retiring Dec. 31. Henson is one of 10 Chrysler group executives offered a three-year contract at the time of the November 1998 takeover to cushion against an exodus of talent.

The deal gives Henson, and any of the other executives who decide to leave, full retirement benefits at age 55.

DaimlerChrysler said Henson, who joined the Chrysler group in 1994 after 32 years with General Motors, is leaving to spend more time with his grandchildren. A spokesman said the departure wasn't related to the financial package.

LaSorda joined the Chrysler group in May as senior vice president in charge of powertrain manufacturing. LaSorda came from GM, where he one of a handful of lean-manufacturing experts.

LaSorda was GM's vice president of quality control, and in the early 1990s he headed GM's assembly plant in Eisenach, Germany, which was regarded as one of GM's leanest.

The Chrysler group also named Richard Chow-Wah, 42, as LaSorda's replacement, giving him the title of senior vice president for powertrain management. Chow-Wah joined the Chrysler group in 1994 as a manufacturing manager and is vice president- engine/foundry/axle.

Bruce Coventry, 49, will succeed Chow-Wah. He joined the Chrysler group in 1995 as manager of manufacturing engineering and is director of manufacturing engineering.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@autonews.com

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