Phil Murtaugh Jumps to Chrysler

By Brendan Moore


Chalk up another great hire for the new Chrysler LLC

Phil Murtaugh stated today that he has left SAIC Motor, China’s largest car maker, and has accepted a position as head of Chrysler’s Asian operations. “It is an offer that I just cannot turn down”, commented Mr. Murtaugh. He will remain in Shanghai, China, and start his new position in October. He will report up to Mike Manley, who is Chrysler’s executive vice president of international sales and marketing. Mr Manley, in turn, reports to the newly hired Jim Press, Chrysler’s president and vice chairman for sales and marketing.

Phil Murtaugh served as chief of GM’s China operations before becoming an executive vice president at China’s largest state-owned auto maker. He is widely credited with building GM’s very successful Chinese subsidiary. He is the person responsible for developing and executing the partnership with SAIC Motor in 1997, and that partnership has reaped huge dividends for both General Motors and SAIC since.

SAIC Motor, previously known as Shanghai Automotive Co, said it appreciated Murtaugh’s contribution to the company, which has two major joint ventures making cars in China with General Motors and Volkswagen. SAIC also builds its own cars based on a design and production platform it purchased from the now-defunct MG Rover Group of Britain.Murtaugh joined SAIC in June 2006 after unexpectedly quitting his previous position as General Motors’ China chief. Murtaugh had spent 32 years with GM previous to his resignation.

The hiring of Murtaugh is another hiring coup for the new Chrysler LLC, and represents their seriousness about leveraging Asian manufacturing going forward, as well as their intent to sell vehicles in the various Asian markets.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. This guy could ultimately be just as important to Chrysler’s future as Jim Press. Maybe even more important. Press is a marketing and sales guy and Murtaugh is the person who can faciliate low-cost manufacturing and develop new overseas markets for Chrysler. That’s a lot more important to Chrysler right now, IMHO.

  2. Very strong move in my opinion, too. This will produce more tangible results for Chrysler than hiring Jim Press.

  3. Maybe Press is there to win the Chinese market on behalf of Toyota. Toyota has not been very successful with the Chinese, except for Lexus. They would certainly be in a position to buy Chrysler from Cerberus at some point.

  4. Carolyn, I have some doubts then Toyota is currently interested to buy Chrysler unless they wants to prevent Carlos Ghosn of Renault-Nissan who still think of a tie-up with a US automaker. (Ghosn had recently rejected the idea of a merger between Renault and Peugeot-Citroen)

  5. I forgot to mention then the potential tie-up then Ghosn dreamed might be probably Chrysler (that was Pete DeLorenzo of Autoextremist speculated 3 weeks ago) unless something unexpected happens. Ghosn seems to dream of being the Alfred P. Sloan/Billy Durant of the 21th century.

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