Volkswagen AG-owned Traton Group replaced Persio Lisboa as CEO of recently acquired Navistar International Corp. on Wednesday, part of an executive shuffling that retains about half of senior leadership.

Traton closed its $3.7 billion acquisition of Navistar, the No. 4 U.S. truck maker, on July 1.  The Navistar board of directors appointed Mathias Carlbaum, 48, as CEO and president effective Sept. 1. After a transition, Lisboa, 55, will retire after a 35-year career at Navistar including 14 months in the top job.

Lisboa succeeded Troy Clarke, who worked with Traton (OTC: TRAFT)  leadership to complete the long-expected takeover. After stepping down as CEO, president and chairman, Clarke took on the new role of executive chairman until the merger was complete.

Traton, then Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group, purchased 16.6% of Navistar for $256 million in September 2016. At the time, Navistar was in the throes of a financial crisis brought on by an engine defect that would cost hundreds of millions dollars to rectify, including settling a class-action suit with customers.

Lisboa help lead turnaround

As chief operating officer before becoming CEO, Lisboa is credited with helping return Navistar to profitability and Launching Navistar 4.0, a strategy that includes a goal of 25% North American market share by 2025 and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 12% by 2024 compared with about 8% in 2019.

A purchasing and powertrain alliance formed at the time of Volkswagen’s initial investment targeted $5 billion in savings. Navistar Chief Financial Officer Walter Borst, who tracked alliance savings, will give up the CFO role but remain on the Navistar board.

Carlbaum was executive vice president of commercial operations at Sweden’s Scania CV AB until the end of March. Scania is one of Trqaton’s truck companies, which also includes Germany’s MAN and Brazil’s Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, and RIO. Carlbaum has led the post-merger management at Navistar for Traton since April.

“Mathias Carlbaum is an internationally experienced manager with the right skills and mindset to lead Navistar into this new era as part of Traton Group,” Traton CEO Mattias Gründler said in a press release. 

Fuel cell project

Lisboa also undertook a recent partnership with General Motors Co., J.B. Hunt Transport Serices and a hydrogen fuel maker to create a fuel cell-powered International Class 8 RH Series daycab that Hunt will use on specific routes. 

How that project will fare under Traton is unclear because Gründler is not a supporter of hydrogen fuel cells for trucking.

Navistar is expected to show a production-intent version of its first medium-duty battery-electric truck next week at the Advanced Clean Technology Expo in Long Beach, California.

The Navistar board appointed an executive board that includes Carlbaum and Borst, who will be succeeded on Jan. 1 by Do Young Kim. Kim led the 2019 initial public offering that created Traton and oversaw the Traton merger with Navistar.

Other executive board members include Michael Grahe, formerly Traton Group chief technology officer, who will head operations covering product development and procurement. Current President of Operations Phil Christman will remain at Navistar until March to oversee Mexico and Brazil. Donna G. Dorsey will retain responsibility for people and culture. Friedrich W. Baumann remains responsible for sales, marketing and after-sales. Mark Hernandez, who oversees manufacturing, will join the executive board.

Related articles:

Navistar clears final regulatory hurdles to become part of Traton 

Navistar, GM and J.B. Hunt collaborate on fuel cell trucks

Navistar shareholders greenlight $3.7B merger with Traton

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.