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A judge approved the Dura Automotive Systems Inc. decision to hire a former Ford Motor Co. executive as its COO, a move the company said will give its chief executive more time to focus on the company’s bankruptcy reorganization.
The Associated Press reported that the new executive, David T. Szczupak, will receive a $500,000 salary and a $200,000 signing bonus, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. His responsibilities will include managing the Rochester Hills. Mich.-based company’s global operations and “spearheading their operational restructuring.”
Dura’s board already approved hiring Szczupak on Nov. 15, subject to court approval.
Dura is parent to several RV-related supplier companies including Atwood Automotive Inc., Rochester Hills, Mich., as well as Elkhart, Ind.-based Atwood Mobile Products Inc, Creation Group Transportation Inc., Creation Group Inc., Creation Windows Inc., Creation Group Holdings Inc., Kemberly Inc., Kemberly LLC, and Spec-Temp Inc. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington on Oct. 30.
Szczupak worked for Ford for 16 years. Between 2005 and 2006 he acted as the group vice president of manufacturing, where he oversaw the division’s global production and strategy elements, which included about 87,000 employees and a $14.3 billion operating budget. During Szczupak’s tenure he reduced costs by 30 percent, Dura said.
During his time at Ford, Szczupak also was involved in powertrain operations and was a chief engineer for Jaguar Cars.
“To ensure the greatest possible chances of successfully emerging from the bankruptcy process, the debtors believe that the court’s approval of (Szczupak’s) employment agreement is critical,” the company said in court papers.