DENSO names Helmboldt as first American to global executive position
From Staff Reports
“It’s an honor to be the first American appointed to this global executive position,” said Helmboldt in a company release today. “I look forward to serving in this capacity on behalf of global DENSO.”
In his new role, Helmboldt will focus on North American and global DENSO business, as well as that of the company’s Maryville operations, where he was simultaneously named executive vice president, a newly created position.
In North America, DENSO employs more than 14,000 people, of which nearly 3,000 are employed at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc. in the Blount County Industrial Park.
Helmboldt helped establish DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee prior to its 1990 production startup in Maryville — at the same time becoming a member of the company’s executive committee. The Maryville location, which provides original high technology components to automotive manufacturers, has four manufacturing plants with more than 1.8 million square feet under roof.
The company produces starters, alternators, instrument clusters, electronics (includes engine, safety, and device products), and body electronics (focus on remote keyless entry, auto air conditioning control units, tire pressure monitoring systems and body control modules). Key customers include Toyota, Honda, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, and Subaru.
Helmboldt began his DENSO career as production manager in Maryville’s Instrument Cluster Division. He was named a company director in 1994.
Assuming responsibility for the company’s Starter/Alternator Division in 1996, he became a vice president one year later. In 2000, he returned to the Instrument Cluster Division, where he continued to help lead it to numerous customer awards for quality, delivery and cost.
The Instrument Cluster Division won the nation’s top lean manufacturing award in 2007 — the Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence. (The plant previously had won the state of Tennessee’s Platinum Shingo Award). Since that time, Helmboldt has served on the board of governors for the Shingo Prize.
Helmboldt earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in industrial management. During the past decade, he has been instrumental in the Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturing Association, a major supplier development group used to improve the overall performance of Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc.’s Tier 1 supply base (original equipment to Toyota).
Between 2005 and 2008, he was the group’s vice president for two years and president for two years, followed by service on its board of directors. During this time, the association expanded from a regional into a North American organization that included Canada and Mexico.
DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electric, electronics and information and safety. Customers include all the world’s major carmakers. Worldwide, the company has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 35 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs over 120,000 people. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31 totaled US$38.4 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 9.5 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development.
DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges.