That sure was a short retirement. At the tender age of 66, former Chrysler Corp. Vice Chairman Robert Lutz (see WAW p. 118) is finally running his own company.

He takes over as Exide Corp.'s chairman, president and chief executive officer. It's a turnaround challenge at the world's largest battery maker, much like what Chrysler faced about seven years ago.

Exide's stock has fallen from a 52-week high of $30.75 to as low as $5.50 in late October. It jumped $3.13 a share to $17.63 the day the company announced Lutz's hiring.

Mr. Lutz fills a seat vacated in October when Arthur Hawkins left as chief executive and Douglas Pearson departed as president of Exide's North American Operations.

Dabbling in something as seemingly mundane as batteries may seem a tad odd for a swashbuckling "car guy" like Bob Lutz. Privately he says the salary and perks aren't bad, though he adds that it's not why he's taking the challenge.