Bentley Motors Ltd. has chosen Jaguar Land Rover executive Michael Straughan to take charge of manufacturing at the luxury carmaker, effective Feb. 7. Straughan will succeed Doug Dickson, 63, who will retire later in the year.
“This was too good an opportunity to turn down,“ Straughan, 49, said in a statement. "Bentley has such an illustrious history but also a very bright future so it is a privilege to join the board of the company. I am really looking forward to helping shape the strategic direction of Bentley, but I first want to get fully immersed in the Crewe operations as well as the wider Volkswagen Group.”
As the new board member for manufacturing, Straughan will report directly to the new chairman and CEO of Bentley, Wolfgang Duerheimer, who succeeds Franz-Josef Paefgen on Feb. 1.
“Michael has the broad experience, expertise and commitment which will help us maintain the levels of quality, craftsmanship and excellence that are the hallmarks of Bentley. He also has the necessary commercial prowess to help Bentley through an exciting but challenging time as we move into full production of both the flagship Mulsanne and the new Continental GT,” Paefgen said in the statement.
Straughan joins the company from Jaguar Land Rover where he was operations director for the Halewood plant in Merseyside, England. His long career has included periods at Nissan Motor Co., Volvo and LDV, where he has gained extensive experience in a number of manufacturing plants both in the UK and abroad, across a range of roles including operations, material planning, logistics, manufacturing engineering and specific processes.
He has extensive experience in lean manufacturing, new product introduction and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. At Bentley, he will direct all the company's manufacturing operations including production, planning, logistics, lean operations and general plant operations.
Straughan succeeds Dickson, who has overseen the transformation of Crewe's manufacturing operations into one of the most highly skilled facilities in the UK. Dickson will now take responsibility for a number of strategic projects within Bentley until he retires later in 2011, the statement said.
A native of England, Straghan is married with two children.