CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Truck and engine maker Navistar International Corp. today promoted former General Motors executive Troy Clarke from COO to CEO, replacing interim chief executive Lewis Campbell who came out of retirement to lead the company through a rough patch.
Campbell, a former Textron chief who is also a GM veteran, took over as Navistar's CEO in August after the company fired Daniel Ustian over the failure of its new-generation diesel engines.
Clarke, 57, joined Navistar in January 2010 as senior vice president for strategic initiatives. He was promoted to president and COO last fall.
Clarke spent more than 35 years at GM, starting his work at Pontiac in 1973. He held a variety of top positions, including president of GM's Mexico unit, vice president of manufacturing and labor relations, and president of GM Asia Pacific.
His departure as president of GM North America was announced in July 2009, weeks after the automaker emerged from its U.S.-steered bankruptcy.
"When I assumed the interim CEO role last August, I was prepared to stay as long as necessary to oversee the company through a transition period, and today I am pleased to announce our turnaround is firmly underway and our return to profitability is clearly in sight," Campbell said in a statement.
Navistar had struggled with profitability after the U.S. EPA denied approval for its new diesel engine. Unlike rivals Paccar Inc and Volvo AB , the company was attempting to limit emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrogen oxide without using additive urea.
Navistar later abandoned that effort, saying it would develop a new model that uses emission controls more in line with industry standards. It is paying fines for every noncompliant engine it had installed.
The company's first-quarter loss narrowed to $123 million, or $1.53 per share, from $153 million, or $2.19 per share, a year earlier. Excluding some items, it reported a loss of $1.42 per share.
Manufacturing revenue fell 12 percent to $2.6 billion.
Navistar expects its market share to start improving in the second half of 2013 and said cash balance at the end of the first quarter was $1.19 billion, above its forecast range of $950 million to $1.05 billion.
Navistar, based in suburban Chicago, said it was on track to exceed its goal of reducing structural costs by $175 million this year.
The company said it has also identified additional cost savings to further lower its breakeven point in 2013.
Activist investor Icahn, who owns a near 15 percent stake in Navistar, proposed merging the company with rival Oshkosh Corp in 2011. Former CEO Ustian had supported Icahn's proposal, but Oshkosh was against it.
Icahn tried to take full control of Oshkosh last year, but failed to win shareholder support.
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