Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems now has a new chief executive in the persona of Jason Forcier, who had been the president of its auto business. A123 also named Forcier as a member of its board, with the responsibility to oversee all battery and transportation business, product development and manufacturing around the world.
A123 filed for bankruptcy in October 2012 due to weaker-than-expected demand for hybrid vehicles as well as technical problems. Wanxiang Group parts maker Wanxiang Group acquired A123's auto-related assets for $257 million in January 2013. Forcier remarked in January that with Wanxiang's support, A123 would make investments in areas of growth, including batteries for hybrid and micro-hybrid vehicles. Auto business was expected to account for half of A123's sales this year, but its electric grid unit was seen to become its largest business in the next several years.
Forcier also disclosed in January that A123 is hoping to leverage its connection with Wanxiang into more business in China, where it currently operates via a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd. When A123 reorganized, its transportation business retained the A123 Systems brand with Ed Kopkowski being appointed as president of the group.
The company named Mujeeb Ijaz as president of A123 Venture Technologies, which runs its research arm. Prior to Forcier's appointment, A123 had been run by board members Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, and Tom Corcoran. A123 got a $249-million funding from the government of the United States as part of a clean energy program to build manufacturing facilities in Michigan. Around half of the amount was not released.