A123 Systems Reorganizes And Names New CEO

NEW YORK (AP) -- Battery maker A123 Systems said Wednesday that Jason Forcier, the head of its automotive systems business, will become CEO of the company as it reorganizes under new ownership.

The company was acquired in a bankruptcy auction by Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group.

It said Forcer, who had been in charge of its automotive business since 2009, will also join the board of directors.

The company is reorganizing into transportation, research and development, and energy solutions units. Former company Chief Operating Officer Ed Kopkowski was named group president of the transportation business, which will keep the A123 brand, while Mujeeb Ijaz was named president of A123 Venture technologies, which includes its research and development assets. Bud Collins will remain president of the energy solutions division, which is focused on grid energy storage and commercial applications.

Ijaz was in charge of A123's cell products group, which developed batteries.

A123's executives will be based in Livonia, Mich., where its battery systems are made.

A123 received a $249 million grant from the Department of Energy in August 2009 to help it build U.S. factories, but it posted repeated losses and had struggled for several years as Americans were slow to embrace electric cars. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a year ago. In January Wanxiang's U.S. arm bought A123 for about $257 million. In a separate deal, A123's defense-related business assets were sold to Navitas Systems of Woodridge, Ill., for $2.3 million.

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