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Former GM China Chief Murtaugh Jumps to Battery Start-Up CODA

Latest senior industry exec to push into new technology.

by on Jan.24, 2011

New CODA CEO Phil Murtaugh, shown here while GM's China boss.

Phil Murtaugh, a name long associated with the emergence of the booming Chinese automotive market, will be testing his skills in another emerging automotive market.

Murtaugh, who helped put in motion General Motors’ commanding presence in the Asian nation before signing on with Chrysler’s Chinese venture, will be moving to California to serve as the chief executive officer of the electric vehicle manufactuer CODA Holdings.

“We are thrilled to have Phil guide our team into its next stage of rapid growth in power battery systems and electric vehicles,” said Mac Heller, CODA’s Executive Chairman. “Phil is an industry veteran with large scale manufacturing, sales and marketing experience who has the precise combination of skills necessary to lead CODA’s mission to transform the auto industry by accelerating the adoption of clean, zero emissions technology.”

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Murtaugh landed in China in 1996, when the potential for significant growth was, at best, controversial, and former General Motors Chairman Jack Smith was taking fire for his decision to invest in a country that had far more bicycles than automobiles.  Through 2000, Murtaugh served as Executive Vice President of Shanghai GM, and then, from 2000 to 2005, as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GM China, overseeing a growing list of GM joint ventures.