The company says Koehler’s appointment to this key role reinforces the significance of the China market to Karma’s future, and acknowledges the pivotal role he has played in leading Karma’s efforts associated with obtaining the company’s manufacturing license from the Chinese government.
Koehler’s appointment comes on the heels of Liang Zhou’s hiring as global CEO. Both are part of outgoing CEO Thomas Corcoran’s strategic vision to position Karma Automotive for long-term success.
“Barny will continue to report to me, while he continues to develop Karma’s presence in China,” said Corcoran. “He will have direct responsibility for building our China-based engineering, supply chain, manufacturing and administrative support functions located in Hangzhou, while matrixed with their corporate counterparts in California. He will continue to manage our strategic relationship with BMW, and lead the corporate global design organization headquartered in Irvine.”
Barny began his automotive career at BMW, where over the course of 21 years he progressed from 3-D designer to director of operations. In 2001, he joined Ford Motor Co. in London as its director of new business development, and in 2005 he co-founded Fisker Coachbuild and subsequently co-founded Fisker Automotive as chief operating officer in 2007. He continued to manage Fisker during the bankruptcy in 2013 and led the organization until Wanxiang’s acquisition in April 2014.
Corcoran added, “Barny’s history as co-founder of Fisker Automotive and as managing director Europe and Asia for Karma Automotive uniquely qualifies him for this role, the strategic importance of which cannot be overstated due to the huge potential of the Chinese EV market.”