The Chrysler Group announced on Wednesday that Eric Ridenour, 44, has been named executive vice president – product development, effective February 1, 2003, in conjunction with the retirement of long-time engineering chief Richard Schaum, 56.

Ridenour, who has 15 years management experience in Chrysler group engineering, has most recently been vice president of the premium vehicle product team. In a related move, Craig Love, 54, assumes responsibility for the product development of the company’s premium passenger car line-up, in addition to his current responsibility as head of the activity vehicles.

Ridenour has experience in several engineering and related disciplines at Chrysler Group, including powertrain engineering, regulatory affairs, product planning and product strategy. In his new position, he will direct 9,000 people involved in product development and the powertrain and vehicle engineering product teams.

With this appointment, Ridenour also becomes a member of the executive committee. Schaum retires on March 31.