December 8, 2007 / 2:15 AM / in 10 years

Magna says president Hogan to leave

TORONTO (Reuters) - Magna International MGa.TO said on Friday that President Mark Hogan will leave the company at the end of the year, and confirmed that its Magna Steyr unit in Austria will assemble the new offroad version of BMW’s (BMWG.DE) Mini.

<p>Magna International chairman Frank Stronach listens to a presentation at the auto parts maker's annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto May 10, 2007. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>

Magna said it expects its annualized sales from the Mini program to be more than $1 billion at current exchange rates once the program reaches full production.

BMW announced the agreement earlier this week.

In a separate statement, Magna said that Hogan will leave the company as of December 31 to “pursue other opportunities.” It did not say who would replace Hogan, who spent 30 years at General Motors in various roles before joining Magna in 2004.

Hogan replaced Belinda Stronach, daughter of Magna founder and Chairman Frank Stronach, after she left the company in 2004 to pursue a career in Canadian politics.

Belinda Stronach, who served in the cabinet of the former Liberal government, said in April that she would not stand for re-election, and would rejoin Magna as executive vice chairwoman.

Hogan managed Magna’s relationships with the Big Three U.S. automakers and was leading Magna’s Asia-Pacific initiatives, BMO Capital Markets analyst Peter Sklar said in a research note.

“We consider this to be a negative development given that the departures of Executive Vice-Chairman Manfred Gingl earlier this year, and now Mr. Hogan, have thinned Magna’s senior management ranks of what we consider to be two capable and respected executives,” Sklar wrote.

Magna currently has two co-chief executive officers, Don Walker and Siegfried Wolf.

Shares of Aurora, Ontario-based Magna fell almost 1.5 percent to close at C$81.82 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Cameron French and Lynne Olver; Editing by Peter Galloway

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