Auto executive to open dialogue with UT students, community

February 11, 2015 | Events, UToday
By Cynthia Nowak



It’s not every day that the door to the corporate boardroom unlatches to reveal secrets, but it’s an event swinging open for UT students, staff, faculty and friends.

O’Neal

O’Neal

Rodney O’Neal, chief executive officer and president of Delphi Automotive PLC, will share his experiences Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room.

His free, public presentation is the fourth in the Brothers on the Rise, Alpha Phi Boule and Association of Black Faculty and Staff Lecture Series.

O’Neal’s talk is billed as a sit-down meeting with the CEO, explained Dr. Willie McKether, associate dean of the UT College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, and president of Brothers on the Rise.

“He’ll talk about his own story, but he’s most interested in hearing what students have to say and in having a two-way give-and-take about their plans for the future,” McKether said. “It’s a reflection of his commitment to supporting tomorrow’s potential leaders.”

A veteran of the automotive industry, O’Neal began his career with General Motors while attending college at General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). After graduation, he held a number of engineering, production and operational supervisory positions throughout the United States, Portugal and Canada.

At Delphi Automotive PLC — a global automotive supplier with more than 150,000 employees, 126 major manufacturing sites and 15 technical centers — he led the company through a major reorganization. Today, Delphi has more than $17 billion in revenue and is considered an innovation and technology leader of the industry.

A longtime Michigan resident, O’Neal remains active in the local community, serving on the honorary board of directors for Real Life 101, a scholarship and mentoring program for at-risk African-American males. He also is a former member of the board of directors for INROADS Inc., an organization that helps to prepare underserved youth for corporate careers.

O’Neal holds a bachelor’s degree from General Motors Institute and a master’s degree from Stanford University. He serves on the board of directors for Delphi and is a former member of the board of directors for Sprint Nextel Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

“Maybe because of his background, Mr. O’Neal doesn’t lecture — he solicits questions and concerns from the audience, then opens a discussion,” McKether said. “Everyone who attends his presentation should come ready for a lively time.”