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Former Mich. car czar hired by American Axle

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Former Michigan auto czar Nigel Francis on Monday was named vice president of corporate planning for Detroit-based supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.

Earlier this month, Francis resigned his position as senior automotive adviser and automotive industry office senior vice president for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It was expected he would eventually return to the auto industry after Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him to the MEDC position about 14 months ago.

In addition, American Axle named Jon Morrison as president of American Axle Manufacturing North America. Morrison most recently was vice president of vehicle dynamics and controls for WABCO Holdings Inc.

“These appointments strengthen and enhance our leadership team as we continue to execute AAM’s aligned business strategy to achieve profitable global growth, while expanding and diversifying our customer base, product portfolio and served markets,” AAM Chairman, President & CEO David C. Dauch said in a statement.

Francis was replaced by Kevin T. Kerrigan, who worked with Francis as vice president of the state automotive office.

Snyder created the office and appointed Francis in September 2013 with a mission to strengthen the relationship between the state and its largest economic driver.

During his tenure, Francis, an industry veteran of 20-plus years, launched the office, implemented a long-term growth plan and went on numerous trade missions to Asia and Europe to promote the state.

In total, the office held nearly 200 meetings with high-level executives about investing in Michigan.

Michael Wayland contributed.

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