A123 hires former JCI executive as chief technology officer

A123 Systems LLC hired former Johnson Controls Inc. executive Patrick Hurley as its chief technology officer.

Hurley, formerly the executive director for global core engineering for JCI’s power solutions business unit, replaces Mujeeb Ijaz.

Hurley will lead the suburban Detroit automotive lithium ion battery supplier’s r&d arm, A123 Venture Technologies of Waltham, Mass. He’ll also be responsible for integrating the A123’s battery development at its operations in China, the company said in a news release.

The move marks A123’s move away from operating its r&d as a separate entity and moving it toward a more cross-developmental department, said A123 CEO Jason Forcier.

At JCI, Hurley was the industrial liaison between the Milwaukee supplier and the U.S. Department of Energy’s research partnership, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research.

He also served in various other roles at JCI, including director of research and development for technology and innovation as well as senior strategic planning manager for energy storage systems.

Hurley received a doctorate in inorganic chemistry at Purdue University and did postdoctoral work in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

A123 received a $249.1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant in 2009 to build its Michigan plant, but filed for bankruptcy in October 2012 after several years of bleeding cash flow.

Upon entering bankruptcy JCI was the stalking horse bidder to acquire A123 assets, but lost out to Wanxiang Group Corp. in an auction. Wanxiang won with a $256.6 million bid for the automotive and grid assets of the supplier and continues as its parent company.

You can reach Dustin Walsh at dwalsh@crain.com

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