Auto parts supplier Federal-Mogul Corp said on Monday Chief Executive Jose Maria Alapont will retire at the end of this month and the maker of powertrain and safety technology will create an independent aftermarket division.

Shares of the company, which makes pistons, spark plugs, windshield wiper blades, brake pads and other auto components, were up 2.8 percent in early trading.

Federal-Mogul said Rainer Jueckstock, who is currently the senior vice president of its Powertrain Energy business unit, has been promoted to be the new CEO, effective April 1. The 52-year-old executive also will join the company's board.

The company, majority-owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, said Alapont, 61, would remain with it in a consulting role to assist with the transition. Alapont also will remain on the board through the 2013 annual meeting.

I want to sincerely thank Jose Maria ... for remaining with the company longer than he had originally committed, Icahn, Federal-Mogul's nonexecutive chairman, said in a statement.

Federal-Mogul officials added that Alapont chose to take voluntary retirement.

The Southfield, Michigan-based company also said it is modifying its corporate structure to create a separate and independent aftermarket, or replacement parts, division. Federal-Mogul said it has hired a search firm to find the new unit's CEO, who will report directly to the board.

Federal-Mogul's aftermarket business unit had global sales last year of $2.3 billion.

Shares of the company rose 48 cents to $17.49 in morning trading on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Megha Mandavia in Bangalore and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier, Dave Zimmerman)