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Exide Americas president stepping down

Keywords: Tags  Exide technologies, R. Paul Hirt, James R. Bolch, Bruce Cole, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — R. Paul Hirt Jr. has resigned as executive vice president of Exide Technologies Inc., a leading producer of lead-acid batteries, and president of its Exide Americas unit, effective no later than Aug. 31.

"Paul has been a valuable member of the executive leadership team since he joined the company in 2011, and has led the Americas division during a challenging period," James R. Bolch, Exide’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Bruce Cole, currently executive vice president for strategy and business development and president of Exide’s Asia Pacific operations, will assume additional responsibility for the industrial and recycling operations within the Exide Americas business unit, the Milton, Ga.-based company said. "Bruce is well prepared for this challenge, given his familiarity with the industrial and recycling operations over his 24 years with the company," Bolch said.

The move comes on the heels of several months of turmoil for the battery maker, including a June 10 announcement that the company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and a July 19 objection filed by the Environmental Protection Agency against Exide’s request for post-petition financing.

The EPA indicated in its objection that the company’s request "could result in operations in violation of applicable environmental laws, threatening public health and safety," and that the proposed order lacked language to "protect public health and safety in emergencies where there is not adequate time for the debtor to obtain approval of a budget from its lenders to use cash collateral to comply with the law."

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