Delphi’s CEO to retire in March image

Delphi Automotive Plc announced that Rodney O’Neal, the US auto parts maker’s CEO will retire next March, and will be succeeded by the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Clark.

O’Neal, 61, will remain with Delphi as an adviser until the end of 2015 while Clark, 52, will become chief operating officer on October 1 and will take the top job in March.

Leading Delphi out of bankruptcy, O’Neal joined GM in 1976 and has been Delphi’s CEO since 2007. He has reduced the company’s costs and its product lines from 131 to 33. O’Neal has also focused on emerging markets and put the accent on products like fuel injection and active safety systems which where looked for by consumers and mandated by governments.

Rich Hilgert, Morningstar Inc. analyst in Chicago, said that “Delphi has been a leader in innovation and lean manufacturing practices and is now starting to see all of that shine through from an investor’s perspective. Rod continued that development and I’m sure Kevin will do the same. He knows where Delphi has its bread buttered.”

Delphi has risen 18% this year alone, with its shares climbing each year since the company returned to the public markets in November 2011, after exiting the bankruptcy process back in 2009.

By Gabriela Florea