September 9, 2014 / 2:31 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Clark to succeed O'Neal as Delphi Automotive CEO in 2015

(Adds detail on Delphi’s role in GM ignition switch recall, updates stock price in last paragraph)

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Paul Lienert

Sept 9 (Reuters) - Delphi Automotive Plc Chief Executive Officer Rodney O’Neal will retire in March and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Clark will succeed him, the auto parts maker announced on Tuesday.

The company named Clark as chief operating officer effective Oct. 1. Delphi also said Praxair Inc executive Mark Murphy would join the company in October, succeeding Clark as CFO. Praxair supplies industrial gases.

O’Neal is leaving one of the world’s largest auto parts manufacturers. Delphi started out as a subsidiary of General Motors Co before being spun off in 1999, but continues to be closely associated with the Detroit automaker.

This year, Delphi became embroiled in GM’s safety crisis after it was disclosed that Delphi provided ignition switches for a number of older GM cars linked to at least 13 deaths.

In July, O’Neal told a U.S. Senate committee hearing that the automaker was responsible for designing and approving switches that later proved defective.

Delphi has been producing replacement switches for more than 2 million GM cars that were recalled earlier this year.

The parts maker is a defendant in several lawsuits filed against GM over the defective switches and said it is cooperating with government officials investigating the parts.

O’Neal, 61, began his career as an engineering student at General Motors Institute and held a variety of managerial positions at GM. He was named head of GM’s Delphi Interior Systems unit in 1997, two years before GM spun off Delphi.

Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005, when O’Neal was named president and chief operating officer. He became CEO in January 2007.

Since the company underwent bankruptcy reorganization and held an initial public offering in 2011, its market capitalization has more than tripled, to $21.4 billion. Its shares were up 30 cents, or 0.42 percent, at $71.71 in late morning trading. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore and Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Maju Samuel, Lisa Von Ahn and Jonathan Oatis)

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