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10 Things You Didn't Know about Dana CEO James Kamsickas

james kamsickas

In 2015, James Kamsickas’ 25 years of global automotive and business experience won him the position of CEO and president of Dana Incorporated. Since assuming the title, Kamsickas’ strategic plans for growth and expansion have seen Dana become one of the leading lights in the industry of drivetrain, sealing, and thermal-management technologies. With Dana expecting to hit its third consecutive year of billion-dollar growth in 2019, it’s clear the decision to put Kamsickas at the helm was the right one. Keep reading to learn more about the talented CEO.

1. He’s got a first-class education

It takes some serious skills to become the CEO of a major corporation, and fortunately, James Kamsickas has them a-plenty. While there’s nothing like real-life experience to hone your talents, Kamsickas got a head start on the competition by studying his craft at university. With a bachelor's degree in business administration from Central Michigan University (1989), an MBA from Michigan State University, and an honorary doctor of commercial science degree from Central Michigan University (2018), there probably wasn’t a lot Kamsickas didn’t already know about business by the time he left education.

2. He’s developed Dana into a world leader

Since taking the helm at Dana, Kamsickas has overseen a period of phenomenal growth. Under his leadership, sales have gone up by 30% and profits have jumped by a staggering 47%. According to projections, Dana expects 2019 to be the third consecutive year its sales growth hits the $1 billion mark. With figures like this, it’s easy to understand why Dana has become one of the industry’s leaders, and Kamsickas one of its most respected CEO’s.

3. He’s going global

One of the key factors driving Dana’s success is Kamsickas’ expansionist strategy. Since he assumed the position of CEO, Kamsickas has expanded the company’s reach into new and previously unexplored territories, including the growing markets of Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Turkey. He’s also been strategic at strengthening and developing Dana’s existing ties in regions of high growth, such as the Asian markets of China and India.

4. He was honored by Energage

In 2017, Kamsickas earned the honor of being named top executive in employee engagement. His effective management of Dana has also seen the company win Top Workplace for 2017 and 2018 by The Toledo Blade and its research partner, Energage. The glories don’t stop there- in 2018, Dana was awarded the Green Pillar Award at the 20th annual Ford World Excellence Awards. "We are pleased to receive this award from one of our largest customers and are excited to continue collaborating with them to deliver innovative solutions that provide maximum performance and fuel efficiency,” Kamsickas said as he accepted the award.

5. He’s a multi-millionaire

Kamsickas has more than proven his worth to Dana, and in return, they’ve done as much as possible to ensure his. According to, Kamsickas is worth at least $19.5 million. The millions break down as $10,349,900 in salary, $1,339,898 as bonus, $7,370,340 as stock, and $563,735 from other types of compensation.

6. He’s got Trump’s ear

In January 2017, Kamsickas was named to the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative by Trump. His appointment saw him join 28 other CEO’s, Presidents, and business dignitaries in advising the President on matters of taxation, overseas trade, infrastructure, regulations and compliance, and workplace developments. As Transport Topics reported, Kamsickas accepted the position in the hope of influencing a positive change on two of his biggest bugbears- the repatriation of profits earned abroad, and the discrepancy between import and export taxation.

7. He previously served as CEO of IAC

Prior to taking the helm at Dana, Kamsickas had occupied the same position at Dana’s competitor, International Automotive Components (IAC) Group. Indeed, it was his 8-track record of success at IAC (which included developing the company into a $5.9 billion operation) that marked him out as a successor to Dana’s departing CEO, Roger J. Wood. “Jim Kamsickas has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills with a sharp focus on operational excellence, as well as organic and inorganic expansion. In his eight years as a CEO, Jim’s record includes the successful integration of a number of strategic acquisitions,” noted Joseph C. Muscari, Dana’s non-executive chairman, of Kamsickas’ appointment.

8. He’s got a background in leadership

In addition to his position as CEO at IAC, Kamsickas has a strong background in leadership and management roles. Previous positions have included head of Lear Corporation's Interior Systems Division, vice president in its General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler customer divisions and vice president of operations of Lear's Seating, Electrical, and Interiors divisions. He’s also served in numerous notable positions in the growth of Lear’s European operations, including several international assignments in Germany, Sweden, and Austria.

9. He’s overseen multiple acquisitions

As part of his plan for driving growth at Dana, Kamsickas has been responsible for orchestrating several key acquisitions. Magnum Gaskets, SIFCO S.A, S.p.A, U.S Manufacturing Corporation, TM4 Inc., Brevini Group SME Group, have all been bought up, repackaged, and added to Dana’s growing portfolio. One of its biggest and most recent acquisitions has been the Drive Systems segment of the Oerlikon Group, which completed in March 2019. The incorporation of the drive systems segment adds a substantial (and immediate) opportunity for increased revenue, growth, and expansion of Dana’s reach in motor technologies. Of the acquisition, Kamsickas has said: "Dana's acquisition of the Drive Systems segment of Oerlikon enables us to support our customers' shift toward vehicle electrification across nearly every vehicle architecture in the light vehicle, commercial vehicle, and off-highway segments. The drive systems business' highly talented team is also strategically positioned to give our customers access to critical manufacturing capabilities in key growth markets, such as India, China, and the United States."

10. He has interests outside of Dana

Kamsickas’ schedule may be hectic, but he manages to find time for several activities outside of Dana, including membership of the Board of Trustees of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), as well as the United Way of Greater Toledo. He also sits as a member of the Toledo Rotary Foundation.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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