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Global battery systems director leaves General Motors

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Global battery systems director leaves General Motors

02/24/2010, 9:09 PMBY MARK KLEIS

One of the most instrumental figures in the development of the Chevy Volt, Denise Gray, has announced that she will be leaving General Motors on March 5, 2010. Gray was the acting director of global battery systems, and has been involved with the development of the Volt since 2006.

Gray’s departure marks the second major figure to part ways with GM’s Volt team, following the announcement that Frank Weber, head of powertrain and electronics for the Volt, announced that he was leaving GM for an executive position with Opel. Weber was considered by many to be the mind behind the Volt, and acted as a public face for the project.

Gray’s departure marks another blow to the Volt team. Based on statements by GM, Gray’s departure, like Weber’s, should have no affect on the release and success of the first generation Volt. The vehicle is said to be far enough along in development that the absence of two former leaders is unlikely to play any role in the release of the automaker’s first series hybrid.

Gray told a small group of reporters, including a reporter from GM-Volt.com, that she will be leaving the Detroit automaker for an unnamed young venture-capital funded start-up that is based in California. Gray would not disclose the identify of her future employer, but did describe her position as a “great opportunity” for her personally, and also as “an opportunity to continue on with clean technology and battery technology.”

In the simplest sense, Gray was in charge of delivering the batteries needed to power the Volt according to a strict timeline, while making sure they were also capable of being produced in adequate quantities and at acceptable cost levels.

Following Gray’s departure on March 5, 2010, Ronn Jamieson, director of global battery systems engineering, will assume all reporting responsibilities and Bill Wallace, Volt battery system engineering group manager, will assume all technical and program management responsibilities.


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