New CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga to head electric vehicle manufacturing plant
Volkswagen Chattanooga will have a new CEO in January, who will lead the plant into the assembly of electric vehicles.
Chris Glover, a 30-year-old Volkswagen veteran and Executive Vice President at Volkswagen of Mexico, where he is responsible for production and logistics, will take up his new position in Chattanooga on January 1, according to VW.
He succeeds Tom du Plessis, who is retiring after more than two years in Chattanooga. During his tenure as head of the VW plant, du Plesssis oversaw the introduction of the Altas Cross Sport SUV and a plant expansion for electric vehicle production, while at the same time managing ongoing plant operations through the coronavirus pandemic.
Glover said Chattanooga is now focused on the next generation of auto assembly, with electric vehicle production scheduled to begin in 2022.
“I’m excited to join the team in Chattanooga,” he said, adding, “It’s a privilege to work with a world-class team to help shape and secure this great future for Volkswagen and our Tennessee facility.”
Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said du Plessis did “a fantastic job guiding our Chattanooga businesses through the past 20 months of uncertainty.”
“Perhaps more importantly, Tom helps us realize our electrified vision here in America that will be his legacy,” said Keogh. “Volkswagen is ready to take the lead and our expansion in Tennessee is critical to a long-term EV leadership strategy.”
He said Glover’s extensive background in production planning will drive that strategy and the industry forward as VW ramp up assembly of the ID.4 battery-powered SUV.
According to VW, Glover has held leadership positions in several countries. Before working in Mexico, he was Executive Director of Production Planning at SAIC Volkswagen, one of the Volkswagen partnerships in China.
He was also head of production planning at Volkswagen of South Africa.
Glover holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and a degree in Business Administration from Damelin College in Cape Town, South Africa.
du Plessis led the Chattanooga plant through an $ 800 million expansion to prepare the plant for production of the ID.4 next year.
He was production manager at several plants in China for five years before moving to Chattanooga and taking over the then CEO Frank Fischer. Fischer was a former Chattanooga plant manager who returned indefinitely when ex-CEO Antonio Pinto took on another post in the spring of 2019.
Fischer returned to the top position in May 2019 amid a highly competitive union election at the plant in which the United Auto Workers lost 833 to 776 points.
du Plessis said in September that Volkswagen is well on track to hire 1,000 more workers at the plant to build the electric SUV in the third quarter of 2022 and add a third shift. The plant currently employs more than 4,000 people who manufacture the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs and the Passat sedan. Production of the sedan in the factory ends this winter.
du Plessis said the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that has hit the auto industry is likely to curb expectations that the factory will set a new production record in 2021.
“We’ll end up on the second highest volume,” he said.
Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.