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Cleveland, OH, United States, 2009/10/03 - In this Leadership Interview with Selker Leadership, Brian Cohen, Segway's CFO, shares his views on what many of the systemic issues are which have contributed to the U.S. auto industry's decline, and what needs to happen to produce different results.
In this Leadership Interview by Selker Leadership, Brian Cohen, Segway's CFO, shares his views and insights into Segway's strategic partnership with GM and its potential impact, the systemic reasons that have contributed to the U.S. auto industry's decline, and the actions which need to be taken by the U.S. and global automotive industry to have both positive economic and ecological impact.
In April of 2009, GM and Segway unveiled the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) prototype, a two-passenger version of the famous Segway that can reach speeds of up to 35 mph and last from 25 to 35 miles on a single charge. In the Leadership Interview with Cohen, he elaborates on Segway's/GM's plans to introduce the PUMA in select Asian and European cities, talks about some of the inherent infrastructure-related difficulties in introducing a smaller all-electric vehicle into major U.S. marketplaces, and posits on both the issues which need to be addressed and their potential solutions such that the U.S. automotive industry can successfully emerge as a leading positive economic and ecological force.
Segway is known for its zero emission personal transport vehicle seen in shopping malls, airports and many city streets. However, their recent agreement with GM has them entering the next generation electric car marketplace and attempting to dramatically alter the paradigm of transportation in the process.
On the topic of the future development of fuel efficient vehicles, Cohen remarks, "I think that the manufacture and sale of large vehicles have disguised a problem within the US automotive industry for many years. And the US automotive industry has not been forced by the government to necessarily focus on the most efficient forms of transportation. Pollution, while it’s been a concern; hasn’t been the utmost concern. With the cost of gasoline expected to rise in the years to come, I think we’re going to see the automotive industry in the US become extremely aggressive in pursuing transportation alternatives that will require fuel efficient vehicles. I don’t know exactly what those requirements are going to be, or the dates in which they’re going to be implemented, but there is no doubt that the government focus in this area will speed the process."
Addressing issues of strategic leadership within the U.S. auto manufacturers, Cohen says, "For a long time many of the more traditional established companies have had a “not invented here” syndrome, and I think one of the greatest challenges is in being flexible. If you’re a large manufacturer, you have to look at your core competency. One of the greatest challenges that the automotive industry faces today, is developing low-cost, long-range batteries. I don’t believe that the automotive companies of today are going to necessarily be the people to do that. But there isn’t any reason why today’s automotive companies can’t develop strategies that take advantage of this technology."
About Brian Cohen
Cohen, a long-term technology financial executive, has over 20 years of high-tech financial leadership in rapidly growing early stage and publicly traded companies. In his role as CFO of Segway, Cohen is responsible for managing the finance, information technology, legal, operations and human resources functions of the company. Since joining Segway he has already realized significant achievements for the company, including completing a new round of financing and playing a major role in the negotiations of Segway’s recent agreement with GM.
Prior to joining Segway (Segway.com), Cohen served as CFO for PHT Corporation, a provider of advanced information technology solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. His background also includes CFO positions at technology companies, including Telebit, Yantra and WebLine Communications. He managed the merger and acquisition process of Telebit and WebLine by Cisco Systems, Inc. He began his career at Price Waterhouse. Cohen is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor of science in accounting from the State University of New York at Oswego.
About Selker Leadership, LLC
Founded in 2002, Selker Leadership, LLC (selkerlead.net), is a retained executive search and leadership consulting services firm. Our core belief is that executive search can be more than a glorified transaction. Our patent-pending Performance Values Assessment™ (PVA™) methodology allows us to consistently evaluate talent to ensure the best match for our clients. As a result, we are the only search firm to offer our unprecedented two-year performance guarantee on all placed candidates. Our services encompass executive search, leadership assessment/development, and training. Our clients include global, multi-billion technology and pharmaceutical companies, top-tier private equity firms, and earlier stage, clean tech companies.
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