Santa Monica electric vehicle developer Coda Holdings on Friday said that its board named as its chief executive, Philip Murtaugh, an experienced auto industry executive in both the United States and Asia.

Murtaugh was employed by General Motors for more than 30 years in various management and executive-level positions. His roles have included executive vice president of Shanghai GM, chief executive of GM China and executive vice president of international operations at Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. He also was chief executive of Asia operations for Chrysler, and most recently has been a consultant and advisor to large sales and manufacturing companies.

Murtaugh succeeds interim Chief Executive Steven “Mac” Heller, a company co-chairman who stepped in when Kevin Czinger resigned in November.

“Phil is an industry veteran with large scale manufacturing, sales and marketing experience who has the precise combination of skills necessary to lead Coda’s mission to transform the auto industry by accelerating the adoption of clean, zero-emissions technology,” Heller said

Heller said he will continue to be active with the new title of executive chairman. The other co-chairman, company founder Miles L. Rubin, steps back to become chairman emeritus.

The management change comes as the company seeks to bring its Coda sedan to market later this year amid competition from Nissan and other car makers building electric vehicles. It is a sister company of Miles Electric Vehicles Inc., a Santa Monica importer of electric fleet vehicles from China.

Coda is partnering with Chinese companies to make the chassis and lithium ion battery in China. Final assembly will take place in the city of Benicia near the Oakland port.

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