WARREN, Mich. - Christopher E. Borroni-Bird, one of the
worlds leading fuel cell experts, will join General Motors Corp. in a unique new
role to blend technology and design.
named to the new position of director of Design and Vehicle Technology Interface, will
focus on the critical relationship between technology and design innovations, it was
announced today by Lawrence D. Burns, GM vice president of Research & Development and
Planning. His appointment is effective immediately.
Prior to joining
General Motors, Borroni-Bird was in technology management at Daimler-Chrysler and led an
effort to develop fuel cells that run on gasoline.
"Chris is an
exciting addition for General Motors as we move forward with innovative technologies and
eye-catching designs. His past work with gasoline-powered fuel cells is evidence of his
skill to take a scientific challenge and deliver a functional, cutting-edge
technology," said Burns.
35-year-old Borroni-Bird, "I see that GM is taking more risks with their designs and
introducing technology before anyone else. This is a company that is clearly pushing the
design-technology envelope and going places."
new position demonstrates an enhanced focus for GM on the interface between design and
technology. "Id like to be right at the intersection of design, purchasing,
R&D and engineering the sweet spot," said Borroni-Bird. He will report
jointly to Jamie Hsu, executive director of GM Technology Management and Technology
Intelligence and John Taylor, director of the Advanced Portfolio Exploration (APEx) Group.
innovations can enable design changes that may be more efficient, more safe, or simply
more pleasing to the eye, according to Borroni-Bird. For example, if there were a better
way to cool the engine, designers could reduce the area of the cars grill. If fuel
cells or some other alternative propulsion system matures and can be placed anywhere in
the car, designers will be able to take all sorts of imaginative new steps to improve
safety or styling, he said.
Borroni-Bird stress that his primary role is to meld a variety of advanced technologies
and design, but his fuel-cell expertise may be called upon. "GM has an excellent fuel
cell program and a lot of people working on it already," Borroni-Bird said. "I
may be able to add some value to it with my experience, but thats not why Im
coming to GM."
Borroni-Bird is a
native of Liverpool, England. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cambridge University in
1991. During a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Tokyo, he continued his
studies on reaction heat and catalysts, but also found time to consult with Boeing Corps
Japanese division and be a sales representative for a British scientific instrument
He joined the
former Chrysler Corporation in 1992 when the automaker was beginning to explore ways to
tap into technology being developed by national laboratories like Sandia, Livermore and
Argonne in a post-cold war era. He soon became intrigued by the fuel cell work being done
by U.S. Department of Energy researchers and its potential for automotive propulsion.
While academic researchers were puzzling over ways to store pure hydrogen or trying to run
fuel cells with ethanol or methanol, Borroni-Bird led an effort to develop a way to make
them run on gasoline, a fuel for which the U.S. already has a $200 billion distribution
network in place.