DETROIT — You didn't think Beda Bolzenius and KKR & Co., the New York investment house behind him, were finished, did you?
With Bolzenius as its auto industry point man, KKR has scooped up two far-flung global parts companies, Nissan-controlled Calsonic Kansei of Japan and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-controlled Magneti Marelli of Italy, spending $11 billion in less than 24 months to create an auto-parts powerhouse with combined annual sales of $16.4 billion.
The new company's CEO, Bolzenius, is a 63-year-old German who spent the first half of his career moving up through the management of Johnson Controls., of Milwaukee, including nearly eight years working in Detroit.
He now finds himself in an office in Tokyo, working to blend a storied Japanese management team with an equally accomplished group in Italy, under the umbrella of KKR, with its expectations for return on investment. He must stitch them into a seamless enterprise — now called Marelli — for a future in which automakers are seeking new technologies and are looking beyond components and supplier relationships that worked in the past.
But there is more to come, Bolzenius revealed.
"There will be a need for two or three more technologies," Bolzenius told Automotive News during a stop in Detroit, without providing details. "We are covering most parts of electrical powertrains, but we've identified our technology gaps and we are actively screening the market for certain options and we are ready for a couple of acquisitions."