Volvo picks fast-rising exec to lead r&d
Volvo has named Henrik Green its new head of r&d, giving the Swedish executive his fourth promotion in three years.
Green, 43, replaces Peter Mertens, who is moving to Audi to become its board member for technical development.
Green joined Volvo's top executive team in October in the newly create role of senior vice president of sales, production planning and customer service, a post Volvo plans to fill again in the future, a spokesman said without providing additional details.
Mertens' surprise departure to Audi created an opportunity to put Green, a 20-year Volvo veteran, in charge of the Swedish automaker's 6,500-person global r&d team, which has played a key role in putting the company in position to have its third straight year of record worldwide sales.
Volvo is also counting on Green and his team to add plug-in hybrid powertrains across the automaker's entire range and get a fully autonomous car on the road by 2021.
“Henrik is ideally qualified to lead our team of highly talented engineers around the world as we enter the second phase of Volvo's transformation,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
Prior to his October promotion, Green spent a year as Volvo's vice president of product strategy and vehicle line management. He has extensive experience in r&d, powertrain development and other advanced areas of engineering such as software and control systems, Volvo said in the statement. Green also was one of the leading figures behind the company's decision to switch to using only four- and three-cylinder engines, a move that has been duplicated by a number of other carmakers.
Green said he plans to keep pushing Volvo to the next level. “There has never been a more exciting time to work in automotive research and development and there has never been a more exciting time to do so at Volvo. The industry is changing and I intend to make sure that Volvo leads that change,” he said in the statement.
Volvo's technical operations have undergone a complete transformation since China's Zhejiang Geely Holding acquired the automaker from Ford Motor in 2010.
In 2015 Volvo's vehicle sales topped 503,000, a number the automaker plans to exceed this year as it pushes toward its goal of increasing its global volume to 800,000 by 2020.
Green is the second under-45 executive to be named to Volvo's executive management team in less than a week. Last Thursday the company announced that Atif Rafiq, 43, would become its first chief digital officer. Rafig, who starts Jan. 2, was lured to Volvo from McDonald's, where he built the fast food giant's digital unit from scratch. Rafiq will succeed Klas Bendrik, who will leave the company next year.