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Published: Thursday, 5/5/2011

Dana shareholders meet the new CEO

Roger J. Wood Roger J. Wood

ROMULUS, Mich. -- Shareholders of Maumee-based Dana Holding Corp. got their first look at the automotive supplier's new chief executive officer Wednesday morning during the company's 16-minute-long annual meeting in the Westin Hotel at Detroit Metro Airport.

About a dozen shareholders were on hand to hear Roger J. Wood, 47, discuss the performance last year of the company he has led for just more than two weeks after coming to Dana from automotive supplier BorgWarner Inc. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company's advisory say-on-pay proposal, and advised the board that it would like to see such reviews annually.

Mr. Wood said the previous year "was a year of solid progress, as the Dana team met or exceeded all of our financial targets and, importantly, shifted from fixing operations to growing the company. While we have more work ahead of us, we are confident that we can continue the strong momentum in each of our businesses."

The freshly minted CEO said the company's financial position and operational performance had both improved in 2010, including upgrades by credit rating agencies, early agreements with labor unions representing Dana workers, and expansion of Dana's global footprint and presence in expanding markets such as Brazil, China, and India. In the United States, Dana shaved $124 million in costs from its manufacturing operations through its ongoing LEAN-manufacturing initiatives, Mr. Wood said.

Mr. Wood, attending his first Dana shareholders' meeting, is replacing James Sweetnam, who "resigned by mutual agreement" as Dana's CEO on Nov. 4.

John Devine, Dana's executive chairman, announced earlier that he intends to retire from his position and step down from its board. He is to be replaced as chairman by Keith Wandell, chief executive of Harley-Davidson Inc.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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