DETROIT (May 31, 2013) – Ralph Gilles, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC and Senior Vice President – Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC, has been named Honorary Chairman for the 25th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Induction Ceremony at the Fillmore Theatre in downtown Detroit on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
As Honorary Chairman, Gilles will deliver the evening's keynote address at the black-tie ceremony prior to the induction of the Silver Anniversary class into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. This year's class includes Jack Chrisman, Harvey Firestone, Masten Gregory, Brad Lackey, Bud Moore, Robert E. Petersen and Alex Zanardi.
Bob Riley, chassis constructor and technology innovator, will receive the prestigious Bob Russo Motorsports Heritage Award during the ceremonies for his numerous contributions to racing.
"To be part of a ceremony recognizing the achievements of these icons of motorsports is an honor," said Gilles. "Add in the fact it's the Silver Anniversary Induction Ceremony of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America will make the event even more memorable.
"The eight individuals that will be honored come from a variety of motorsport disciplines. That's what makes this special, it covers a broad spectrum of motorsport disciplines and not just one specific segment.
"These individuals are recognized for performance. It's the same for the SRT brand – performance. From the Chrysler 300 SRT, Dodge Charger SRT, Dodge Challenger SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT to the ultimate sports car, the SRT Viper GTS-R, our passion for performances blends well with the success these pioneers have achieved."
Gilles is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
"We are pleased to have Ralph serve as Honorary Chairman for the Silver Anniversary induction," said Ron Watson, President of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. "He is a racer at heart and has been a great supporter of the Hall of Fame and its mission to preserve America's rich motorsports heritage. He is the perfect person to pay tribute to this year's induction class that features a champion rider and drivers, a title-winning team owner, a legendary publisher and an industrial giant whose name still graces racing tires today."
Since joining the former Chrysler Corporation in 1992 as a designer, Gilles has put his extensive academic background in industrial design and business administration to use, holding various positions within the Company, including:
• 2011 - current, President and CEO - SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC
• 2009, President and CEO - Dodge Brand and Senior Vice President - Product Design
• 2009 - current, Senior Vice President - Product Design
• 2008, Vice President - Design, Chrysler LLC
• 2006, Vice President - Jeep®/Truck, Color and Trim Studios, and Specialty Vehicles, Chrysler LLC, DaimlerChrysler
• 2005, Director - Truck Exterior/Interior Design Studio
• 2001, Director - Design Office, Large Car Studio, Family Vehicles
• 1999, Senior Manager - Design Office, Studio 3
• 1998, Manager - Design Office, Jeep Interiors, Chrysler Corporation
• 1992, Designer - Design Office
Gilles is extremely active inside and outside the Company. He serves as the executive sponsor of the Chrysler African American Network (CAAN) in addition to playing a leading role with The Chrysler Global Diversity Council. He also serves on the boards of The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich. and McLaren Oakland in Pontiac, Mich. At his alma mater, The College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit, Gilles serves on The CCS Board of Trustees and The CCS Capital Committee.
An avid car enthusiast who enjoys spending time at the track, go-karting and watching Formula 1 auto racing, Gilles has participated in the Targa Newfoundland Rally, the Car and Driver One Lap of America and the SRT Viper Cup Series. In addition, he has frequently served as a judge at Pebble Beach, Meadow Brook and Cranbrook Concours events, along with the EyesOn Design car show.
Gilles has earned numerous academic and industry awards, including: The Michigan State University Eli Broad Graduate School of Management Young Alumni Achievement Award, The Automotive Hall of Fame Young Leadership & Excellence Award, NV Magazine Innovation Award, Black Engineer of the Year President's Award and N'Digo Foundation N'Design Award.
Gilles holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University (2002) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit (1992).
Gilles was born in New York City.
Tickets for the induction ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-248-349-RACE (7223) or by visiting the Hall of Fame's website: www.mshf.com.
Eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame of America is available to anyone who has driven, piloted, ridden, owned, designed, built, supported, maintained, prepared, or promoted motorized vehicles in pursuit of speed, distance, endurance, or other records: or in racing, endurance or other competition. To be eligible, an inductee must have been retired for at least three years or must have been engaged at the top level of his or her specific field for at least 20 years. Induction is limited to United States citizens or non-citizens who have recorded significant achievements in the U.S.
A panel of historians, retired competitors, journalists, and prior living inductees vote for the final selections. Each inductee receives the Hall of Fame's prestigious "Horsepower" award -- an original bronze statuette created by Ann Arbor, Michigan sculptor Michael Curtis.
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