Fisker announces changes at the top

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker has named former Chrysler chief Tom LaSorda CEO of Fisker Automotive, while Fisker takes on a new role as Executive Chairman.

“Now it’s time for us to move into the next chapter in our growth strategy… and I now need to take a new role,” said Henrik Fisker during a webcast Tuesday.

As Executive Chairman, Fisker says his new duties include creating brand awareness, styling and design, and expansion. Fisker says while the $102,000 Karma has successfully been launched in the U.S. and Europe, the California-based hybrid electric car maker now has its sights set on the Middle East and China.

Filling his shoes will be Tom LaSorda, a 32-year veteran of the auto business primarily with General Motors and Chrysler. Coming out of retirement, LaSorda says he was offered the position late last year. 

“I would never have taken a job if I didn’t think the future of this company was bright and had a great future,” LaSorda said. “I actually personally invested in the company, as well. Just to show confidence to myself and the team that we have a great opportunity to grow this business, to make it very, very successful and I’m here to lead the team into that success.”

And while LaSorda mentioned he was particularly impressed with Fisker’s next series of cars, called Project Nina, neither he, nor Fisker, made any mention about where the company stands in terms of production on the vehicles at the former General Motors plant in Newport, DE. Work to retrofit the plant came to grinding halt earlier this month, resulting in 29 layoffs, because of a loan issue with the Department of Energy.

Delaware leaders say both sides are working on a deal so Fisker can access the second part of a federal $529 million loan, money designated for the less expensive Project Nina line. The DOE reportedly stopped payment because it says the startup failed to meet certain progress targets.  

No questions were allowed during the six minute announcement, but WHYY submitted questions to Fisker’s press department this morning. WHYY has yet to receive a response. 

Fisker initially hired more than 100 people to reconfigure the Boxwood Road assembly plant. Original projections estimated as many as 2,000 people would eventually work for the car manufacturer.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.