Frederic Lissalde has spent the past 28 years doing business in automotive propulsion. Last week, he was named CEO at one of the world's biggest propulsion companies — BorgWarner Inc. — succeeding James Verrier, who is retiring.
"I know all customers around the world in the propulsion area, so that's going to be an asset," Lissalde told Automotive News.
In January, Lissalde, 50, stepped into the role of COO, a job previously held by Verrier but vacant since Verrier was promoted to CEO in 2013. Prior to that, Lissalde was president and general manager of the company's turbo systems business.
In his new role, Lissalde said he will focus on business growth, customer relationships, product strategy and growth execution.
Verrier, 55, will hand over the CEO title effective Aug. 1. To ease the transition, he will serve in a nonexecutive advisory role until he retires in February.
He said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
"The company's in great shape," Verrier said, speaking in the same conversation with Lissalde. "We've got a fabulous strategy that's in place that we're executing beautifully."
Verrier took the helm in early 2013 and made the strategic decision to let other auto companies pursue self-driving car technologies, and to instead focus on what has made BorgWarner an industry force — providing propulsion solutions. Its parts are used in combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles.
Verrier also oversaw the company's $950 million deal in 2016 to buy Remy International Inc., a maker of electric and hybrid motors, to better compete in the fast-growing market for electric and hybrid vehicles.
BorgWarner's future will revolve around executing the strategies that the suburban Detroit supplier has in place, Lissalde said.
"We are kind of agnostic to whether combustion is going to go down faster, or hybrid is going to go up faster, or electric," Lissalde said.
In his 19 years with BorgWarner, Lissalde held several top posts, including vice president and general manager of the transmissions unit and vice president of global sales and marketing of the company's drivetrain arm. He was also managing director of several operations in Europe for the supplier's drivetrain unit.