Dana has announced that its board of directors has appointed John Devine to the expanded role of chairman and CEO. He takes over the CEO responsibility from Gary Convis.

The firm also named Gary Convis vice chairman.

The changes are effective January 1, 2009 and the board has also extended the contracts of both.

Dana said that in the combined role of chairman and CEO, Devine will continue to focus on strategic direction, business improvements, and leadership continuity. As vice chairman, Convis will develop customer partnerships and ‘mentor operational excellence’.

“We are pleased to ensure that Dana will continue to benefit from the experience and continuity that John and Gary provide, particularly against the current backdrop of unprecedented industry turbulence,” said Steve Girsky, lead director of the company’s board of directors.

Dana said in a statement that since accepting the role of executive chairman in February 2008, Devine has led the company’s pursuit of improvements in four key areas: rebuilding the management team; jump-starting Dana’s operational capability; addressing strategic issues, including the evaluation of business options and growth opportunities; and focusing on earnings, cash flow, and a strong balance sheet, especially amid the economic downturn.

Convis, who has served as CEO since April, ‘retains executive oversight of the manufacturing-oriented programs he has rolled out across Dana’s global operations’.

“Gary’s efforts as a leader and mentor have contributed to a new mindset and a more disciplined approach within Dana,” Devine said.

“He has recruited a talented leadership team with proven experience and set the foundation for significant productivity gains and improved customer quality. His new role will enable him to have a more singular focus on building on the accomplishments and momentum already achieved in our operations.

“Gary also will serve as Dana’s advocate to all of our key customers to demonstrate our commitment to building quality products,” he added.

Dana emerged from Chapter 11 earlier this year. Ex-Toyota manufacturing man Convis joined the firm in April, taking over as CEO from then acting CEO John Devine.