Orange County Business Journal

Olson New CEO at Quantum

Chris Casacchia Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brian Olson has been named chief executive of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. in Irvine.

Olson was tapped last month to lead Quantum on an interim basis. He takes the permanent post as the company consolidates its Orange County operations and takes other steps to cut costs.

Olson had served as Quantum’s finance chief since 2002 before getting the nod to lead the company.

He arrives in the top job about a month after the resignations of former Chief Executive Alan Niedzwiecki and Chairman Dale Rasmussen. The resignations were tendered and accepted by Quantum’s board following a discussion on the direction of the company, according to regulatory filings.

Olson and Quantum’s board have singled out executive compensation and other corporate overhead expenses as a primary area to cut costs.

Quantum has said it aims to trim about $4.1 million in annual costs through the consolidation, which calls for eliminating “unnecessary” and “duplicative administrative expenses” and trimming the board from seven to five members, among other steps. Another $2.1 million in annual savings is projected through executive salary reductions.

The company will shed its 95,000-square-foot headquarters in Irvine by early next year and move all operations to a three-building campus in Lake Forest, the Business Journal reported last week.

Quantum had $33 million in annual revenue last year. It has struggled to find a profitable niche over the years in a variety of automotive and renewable-energy markets.

It now appears Quantum is refocusing efforts and resources solely on the automotive sector. The company supplies Anaheim-based Fisker Automotive Inc. with hybrid drive systems. It also sells fuel storage systems, which are expected to increase as adoption grows for vehicles running on natural gas.