In late January, General Motors and Honda announced they were partnering on fuel cell manufacturing. Drawing from their manufacturing executive ranks, the companies followed up on Monday with an announcement of who will lead the partnership.
Suheb Haq, most recently GM's director of GM's operational excellence division, will serve as the partnership's first president. Tomomi Kosaka, president and CEO of Honda of America Mfg., will be the new company’s vice president. Kosaka was responsible for manufacturing operations of three auto plants and an engine plant in Ohio.
Haq and Kosaka will be responsible for operations, overseeing the start-up of the JV and ongoing manufacturing operations. GM and Honda plan to rotate the positions of president and vice president every two years.
Fuel Cell System Manufacturing was established with equal investments from Honda and GM totaling $85 million, creating the auto industry's first manufacturing joint venture to mass-produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used in future products from each company.
FCSM will operate within GM's existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs.
Honda and GM established a master collaboration agreement in July 2013. This established the co-development arrangement for a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies also integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to lower the cost of commercial fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems.
The new company will also include a board of directors consisting of three executives from each automaker, including a rotating chairperson.
Representing Honda on the board of directors are:
- Takashi Sekiguchi, Managing Officer and Director/Chief Operating Officer, Automobile Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
- Mitsugu Matsukawa, Operating Officer/ Chief Operating Officer, IT Operations/ Head of Production Planning Supervisory Unit, Production Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
- Rick Schostek, Executive Vice President, Honda North America, Inc.
Sekiguchi will serve as the first chairperson of the FCSM board of directors.
Representing GM are:
- Charles Freese, Executive Director, Global Fuel Cell Business
- David Maday, Executive Director, Corporate Development
- Robert Portugaise, Executive Director, Manufacturing Engineering