Ex-Visteon chief Stebbins named CEO of Superior Industries

Stebbins: "Superior is one of the great iconic brands in the automotive sector."
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Donald Stebbins, the former CEO of Visteon Corp. who was ousted in 2012 after a two-year dispute with board members, today was named CEO of aluminum wheel supplier Superior Industries International Inc.

The move is effective on May 5, more than a month after previous CEO and chairman Steven Borick’s March 31 retirement. Stebbins also will join Superior’s board.

Superior appointed a new chairman and two interim co-CEOs last month; it continued its search after Borick’s retirement. Borick had been CEO since 2005 and a board member for 33 years.

Acquisition strategy

At Visteon, Stebbins pushed for an acquisition strategy while some board members tied to large bondholders wanted him to streamline the company. On Aug. 2, 2012, he told Bloomberg in an interview that the company would continue to pursue an acquisition strategy.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with the strategy," Stebbins said in the interview. "We will continue to move down that path."

But just over a week later, the company announced Stebbins’ departure. Visteon named Tim Leuliette CEO in October 2012; he had served in an interim role after Stebbins’ exit.

Stebbins, 56, began his Visteon stint as president and COO in May 2005. He became CEO in June 2008.

After spinning off from Ford Motor Co. in 2000, the electronics and interiors supplier never posted an annual profit before entering bankruptcy in May 2009. Stebbins presided over Visteon during the 16-month bankruptcy reorganization process.

Highly paid

During his time at Visteon’s helm, Stebbins often was one of the highest paid executives in the auto supply chain.

After its reorganization, Visteon in 2010 awarded Stebbins a compensation package worth $27 million, based on values calculated by the company at the time.

Stebbins’ compensation package that year included a stock award valued at $21.2 million. In 2012, Stebbins’ compensation was valued at $9.5 million, which included a $2.4 million severance payment.

A Superior spokesman said today the amount of Stebbins’ compensation is not yet available.

'Deep experience'

Chairman Margaret Dano, in a company statement, said: “Our board is confident that Don’s proven managerial skills, deep experience in the automotive industry and motivation for success will be instrumental in growing the company and enhancing shareholder value, as well as further strengthening our brand among customers and providing opportunities for all employees.

Stebbins sits on the boards of supplier ITT Corp., which has a product line that includes brake pads, and WABCO Holdings Inc.

“Superior is one of the great iconic brands in the automotive sector,” Stebbins said in the statement. “I proudly look forward to leading the company and its outstanding team, as it continues to demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism, product excellence and customer service, and as together, we embark on a new era pursuing opportunities for growth and value creation.”

Superior, based in Van Nuys, Calif., ranked No. 66 on Automotive News’ list of the top 100 parts suppliers to North America, with an estimated $822 million in sales to automakers in its 2012 fiscal year.

Louis Borick, Steven Borick’s father, founded Superior in 1957 as a maker of bug deflectors, overload springs and wheels. Superior got its big break in 1972 when it became the wheel supplier for the Ford Mustang, its first auto contract.

Dustin Walsh and Philip Nussel contributed to this report.

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com. -- Follow Vince on Twitter


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