Gamesa hires another business chief from automotive sector

SPAIN: Gamesa today announced another senior appointment to the firm from Spain's automotive sector, just a month after it hired CIE Automotive executive vice president Ignacio Martin as executive chairman.

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In his first speech to shareholders since replacing Jorge Calvet as Gamesa boss in May, Martin told the firm's Shareholders' General Meeting that he had appointed GKN Driveline managing director Xabier Etxeberria to the newly-created role of Business CEO.

Etxeberría – a graduate in industrial engineering from Universidad Politécnica de Bilbao - has spent much of his professional career at the automotive engineering specialist group, GKN. For the past 10 years he has worked at GKN Driveline, and as managing director since 2006 has had responsibility over manufacturing, sales and operations, among other duties.

Between 1994 and 2002 he held several positions at GKN Automotive, heading up manufacturing operations and product development and engineering, among other areas.

Martin told the shareholders meeting to expect a cautious market approach from Gamesa under his control, and that the firm would have to adapt from previous business models held during wind's "boom years" in order to be competitive during the current age of austerity.

Gamesa was hit by a €21 million first quarter profit fall in May, the result of falling prices and costs related to new product development. Against the backdrop of lower returns on wind power developments coupled with limited access to more expensive borrowings, Martin said customers - developers and the major European and US power utilities – were paring back their near-term investment plans.

"These uncertainties mean we must take a conservative and rigorous approach to this period of regulatory transition in which we have to guarantee our capital strength and profitability," he said.

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