Former GM exec Engle named CEO of tech acquisition firm

Former General Motors North America chief Barry Engle is taking on the role of CEO at a Silicon Valley tech acquisition firm.

Qell Acquisition Corp., a San Francisco-based special purpose acquisition company, was founded this year by investment management firm PIMCO. Qell filed with the U.S. securities regulators on Friday to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering.

“We intend to focus our search for a suitable initial business combination target in the next-generation mobility, transportation and sustainable industrial technology sectors, but we may pursue an initial business combination target in any stage of its corporate evolution or in any industry, sector or geographic location,” the company’s prospectus says.

In July, Automotive News reported that GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss said in a letter to dealers that Engle, 56, was leaving GM to pursue his goal of becoming a CEO. He joined GM five years ago as president of GM of South America and earned several promotions.

Joining Engle in the new venture will be longtime auto industry insider Kathleen Ligocki, 63, who would serve on Qell’s board once the stock offering is completed. Ligocki is the former CEO of supplier Tower Automotive and was once a rising star in Ford Motor Co.’s management ranks. She was a “serial CEO” of four venture-capital backed companies, the stock offering says. She also joined Lear Corp.’s board in 2012.

Engle also is being joined by Sam Gabbita, who will be CFO of Qell Acquisition.

The company plans to use the experience of both Engle and Gabbita in its target sectors along with PIMCO’s network to identify attractive initial business combination opportunities, the company’s statement said.

J.P. Morgan and Barclays are the joint bookrunners on the deal. The company plans to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol QELL.U.

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