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Metaldyne’s Japanese Company Was Started with a Credit Card

When Metaldyne Corp.’s CEO wanted to expand the company and establish a presence in Asia, he turned to Jim Hudak. Not only did Jim speak Japanese, he also understood the culture and had experience in creating successful business strategies.

Jim, then vice president of sales and engineering, put a long- and short-term business strategy together and headed off to Japan.

Since Metaldyne, a $2 billion automotive supplier, had no credit there, he had to use his personal credit card to get the businesses off the ground.

Within a short time, Jim was named managing director, Asia Pacific, and then vice president - sales & engineering and executive in charge of Asia and took a leading role in developing business relationships with Asian automakers.

By this time there was a lot on Jim’s plate. Besides his other responsibilities, he was also the representative director for Metaldyne Japan, chairman of the board for Metaldyne India and a board member of Metaldyne China and Korea.In addition, Jim had oversight for regional commercial, engineering, purchasing, human resources and operational functions. He was the key interface with customers, investors and the parent company globally and responsible for strategic planning.

He championed the development strategies and implementation plans and led the Asia-based sales and engineering teams. He also led an organizational restructuring plan that realigned the company’s global product lines, resulting in significant cost improvements and operating efficiencies.

Metaldyne’s move into Asia was a success. The new business awarded doubled the size of its Asian OEM business and accounted for 22 percent of annual sales in 2012.

When the time came for Metaldyne to go down a new path, Jim had a leading role in the M&A activities that led to the sale of that company to Ashai Tec. He was named head of the commercial integration committee for the new company and a a significant contribution in the development and adoption of the five-year strategic plan.

Jim’s credit card started it all.

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