Monday, 30 March 2015

Robson to head up Torotrak

Torotrak has announced that Adam Robson is the company’s new chief executive officer. Robson succeeds Jeremy Deering who announced in November his intention to step down as chief executive.

It has taken four months to announce the appointment of Robson to the position of CEO at Torotrak, a leading developer and supplier of variable drive transmission, engine boosting and energy recovery systems for vehicles that increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions in vehicles.

It could be argued that one function of a chief executive is that of succession planning; i.e. all good leaders understand they cannot carry on for ever and should take steps to ensure their successor is identified at an early stage.

Robson joins on 13 April from Nova Capital Management where he has been an Operating Partner since 2007 responsible for building and managing a portfolio of technology and manufacturing businesses in the UK, North America and Europe.

Previously, Robson was on the Board of Molins plc with responsibility for running the Packaging Machinery and Scientific Services Divisions. He has also worked at Lucas Varity plc in various roles including chief executive of Autocruise, taking Adaptive Cruise Control to market; and international operations director and business development director of Lucas Varity Diesel Systems, where he led negotiations with Delphi Systems which subsequently acquired the division.

Torotrak notes that Robson graduated in civil engineering from Kings College, London and holds a Masters from Imperial College and an MBA from INSEAD. Adam brings a wealth of management and business development experience having led many early stage and mature technology, advanced manufacturing and service companies across automotive and other sectors.

Nick Barter, Torotrak chairman commented; "We are delighted that Adam is joining as chief executive. His extensive experience in managing and building high growth technology businesses, commercialising technology and delivering long term value will prove invaluable. He joins at an important time for Torotrak as vehicle OEMs and Tier 1s show an increasing interest in the capability of the Group's technologies to deliver increased fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions. I would like to thank Jeremy for his contribution to the growth and development of the business."

Robson commented: "I am delighted to have accepted the role of chief executive of Torotrak. It has a strong team and an excellent portfolio of technologies that I believe are well placed to benefit from the challenging regulatory requirements that the automotive industry has to address. I believe that there are considerable opportunities for Torotrak and I am looking forward to the challenge of helping the Group achieve its true potential and commercialise its technologies".

The Torotrak Board thanked to Deering for all his efforts in securing the acquisition of Flybrid and driving the group forward since his appointment as chief executive in 2012. Prior to that as finance and commercial director, Deering was instrumental in securing the major strategic relationship with Allison Transmission, Inc. and in negotiating many of the Group's licensing arrangements. The Board did not however mention another aspect of Deering's stewardship.

Torotrak’s share price has plummeted from a peak of 40 pence in September 2012 to a current 9 pence.

It will be interesting also to see how well Robson performs, what course Torotrak now takes and to what extent Robson has shareholders' interests at heart as they are just as much a part of the company as is he.

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