Hadi Awada, 41
President, Faurecia Clean Mobility North America
Big break: Furthering the rebrand of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America; working in an automaker’s technical call center
Hadi Awada says his first big career break came at age 23 with a job at a technical service call center at a Detroit automaker.
One day, Awada took a call from the spouse of an employee who worked in intellectual property for the automaker. After the vehicle was fixed, the employee thanked him by offering an opportunity to join the team as a brand protection manager.
Now, almost 20 years later, as president of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America, Awada is helping to shift the perception — internally and externally — of the Clean Mobility business unit as it shapes the company’s growth in future technologies.
Faurecia Clean Mobility was rebranded from Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies in January 2017, less than a year before Awada joined the North American unit as president.
Awada transitioned to the North American role after serving as president of Clean Mobility and in other positions at Faurecia’s Shanghai operations.
“We realized very quickly that just focusing on propulsion for internal combustion engines wasn’t going to cut it for a future with battery-electric vehicles coming in and, potentially, alternative types of propulsion like hydrogen fuel cells,” Awada said.
Historically a seating, interiors and traditional propulsion systems supplier, Faurecia initially struggled to accept that sustainable mobility technologies were coming soon in North America, Awada said.
His task was to rebrand the unit from being part of a traditional exhaust systems supplier to one using an “agnostic approach” to propulsion technologies. To do that, Awada has led acquisitions and sales of new clean mobility products.
He also helped Clean Mobility North America pursue three strategic initiatives to drive business growth: operations, R&D evolution, and supply base and steel.
Awada draws inspiration from his three children, ages 14, 13 and 9, and his wife, a business owner in the Detroit area. But his father played a key part in his approach to mentorship and career development, in which Awada sizes up those who might one day become his peer or boss.
“At a certain point, the people you are mentoring will eventually take over as the mentors,” he said. Investing in people is especially critical as the industry copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
“Now, more than ever, investment in the safety and well-being of employees matters above all else,” he said. “Those who are on the side of humanity and prioritize the business focus in that direction will create real sustainability through engagement, trust and employee and customer satisfaction.”
— Alexa St. John