ATLANTA — Fred Schwab, a Detroiter who helped steer Porsche out of the pits of the early 1990's recession, died July 9 following a brief battle with cancer. He was 81.
Schwab was CEO of Porsche Cars North America for more than a decade.
He engineered a management overhaul, in part by hiring former Toyota managers to instill the Japanese automaker's vaunted lean operating methods and help improve Porsche product quality.
Under his watch, Porsche introduced key new models in North America. They included the midengine Boxster roadster, which gave new buyers a sub-$40,000 MSRP entry to the brand, as well as the Cayenne, Porsche's daring offering in the SUV and crossover segment.
The product expansion fueled a new era of sales for Porsche, with volume rising nearly sevenfold during Schwab's tenure.
"Fred laid the groundwork for our success today by leading the rebound in North America of Porsche as a strong, independent brand," Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said in a statement. "Along the way, Fred achieved many landmarks that still shape our world. Through it all, he was a charismatic leader with a sense of fun."