LaSorda, 47, takes his post Jan. 1, replacing Gary Henson, 59, who is retiring. Henson is one of 10 Chrysler group executives still with the automaker who were offered a three-year contract after Chrysler Corp.'s November 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz AG 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.
Henson joined Chrysler in 1994 after 32 years with GM, and is credited with developing lean manufacturing at Chrysler.
LaSorda joined the Chrysler group in May 2000 as senior vice president in charge of powertrain manufacturing. He came from GM, where he was an up-and-coming manufacturing executive and an expert in lean manufacturing techniques.
LaSorda was GM's vice president of quality control, and in the early 1990s he planned and headed GM's car assembly plant in Eisenach, Germany, which was regarded as one of GM's leanest plants.
The Chrysler group 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 currently 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 now is director of manufacturing engineering.