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Published: Saturday, 2/2/2008

Plaudits offered on emergence from bankruptcy, new leader

<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> VIEW: <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO3807222.PDF" target="_blank "><b>Dana Corp. history</b></a> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> VIEW: <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO3807222.PDF" target="_blank "><b>Dana Corp. history</b></a>

The end of bankruptcy and new leadership at Dana Corp. was welcomed yesterday from city hall to the company's shop floors.

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said in a statement, "Congratulations to Mike Burns and all of the employees of Dana Corp. who helped resurrect this Fortune 500 company located in Toledo, Ohio. Your perseverance and dedication have paid off for Dana and for the city of Toledo."

Mr. Finkbeiner's statement also welcomed John Devine, Dana's new chief executive officer, to Toledo.

Scott Williams, president of United Auto Workers Local 1765, which represents 420 workers at Dana's drive shaft plant in Lima, said the only thing that surprised him about Dana's move was its timing.

"They had a new board of directors coming in, so it was just a matter of time, I think, before they changed CEOs," Mr. Williams said. "It just kind of happened a little sooner than anybody anticipated."

Don Hicks, a safety and environmental manager at Dana's automotive frame plant in Hopkinsville, Ky., said the new Dana seems to be much different, even down to the shop floor level.

"It is a lot leaner, and things are looked at in a more professional business outlook," Mr. Hicks said.

"We now have business plans that we're working through and following. There's been a lot of good moves."

Analysts who keep track of the struggling auto parts sector predicted the Toledo automotive supplier of axles, drivetrains, and other products may have positioned itself to survive the ongoing slump in the auto industry.

"There is no question it will be tough, but hopefully they have restructured themselves to make it through the next 18 months," said James Gillette, an analyst at CSM Worldwide Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich. He made his comments to Bloomberg News Service.

- Larry P. Vellequette

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