DETROIT -- Phil Martens, the former Ford Motor Co. North American product development chief who joined Plastech Engineered Products Inc. last October, is leaving the supplier.
After just nine months as COO of the Dearborn, Mich., supplier of interior plastic trim, Martens is leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to sources close to Martens.
The change has not been announced publicly. Repeated attempts since last week to reach Martens have been unsuccessful.
Martens was a highly visible executive at a company known for its privacy. The company is owned by CEO Julie Brown, a Vietnamese immigrant who has more than tripled the company's sales in the last five years.
At the time Martens joined Plastech, the supplier had launched a $1 billion attempt to acquire a much larger competitor, Collins & Aikman Corp., out of Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.
That effort fizzled because larger players such as New York investor Wilbur Ross jumped into the bidding process. Since then, Plastech has pursued smaller acquisitions.
At Ford, Martens in 2005 helped launch a makeover of Ford's product development system in the image of Mazda. Ford's goal was to cut 10 months and as much as 60 percent of costs out of vehicle development.
But with a major restructuring of Ford operations on the horizon, Martens opted to go to Plastech. With him, he brought Ford's North American assembly plant boss, Matt DeMars. DeMars is expected to remain with Plastech.
Plastech ranks No. 99 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1.07 billion in 2005.
Amy Wilson contributed to this report
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