PARIS - Valeo's new chairman and CEO Andre Navarri has appointed Ford of Europe purchasing boss Hans-Peter Kunze as senior group vice president for international affairs. The move is part of a wide-ranging management revamp designed to help Valeo:
Become one of the world's top five suppliers by 2004
Achieve an operating margin of 7 percent
Nearly double sales to E15 billion within four years.
The changes come as Valeo - like other auto suppliers - struggles to impress investors and the financial markets. Valeo's shares were hit on July 19 after first-half sales fell E10 million short of expectations at E170 million. Valeo's operating margin rose to a lower-than-expected 6.7 percent.
Navarri has created his own management structure at Valeo by establishing an executive committee that includes himself, Chief Financial Officer Thierry Morin and Chief Operating Officer Luc Bleriot. The position of COO did not exist under Navarri's predecessor, No'l Goutard.
Kunze replaces Edward Planchon, 67, who is appointed Valeo's senior group vice president for corporate affairs. Planchon will remain senior executive for North America.
Kunze, 49, has a strong background with two of European biggest carmakers - Volkswagen as well as Ford. At Volkswagen, he was corporate executive director for global sourcing from 1990 to 1997. He then joined Ford of Europe as vice president for purchasing, responsible for all Ford's purchasing functions across the continent.
At Valeo, Kunze will supervise the French supplier's global sales and marketing strategy. The hiring of Kunze is directly linked to the globalization of the car industry and growing modernization, which requires increasing coordination between Valeo's different divisions.
Bleriot, 49, has led Valeo's climate control division since 1997. As COO, he will manage all the group's operational functions, including research and development, manufacturing and purchasing. Christine Benard, 33, becomes vice president for purchasing, while Andre Gold, 46, succeeds Bleriot as vice president of the climate control unit.
At Ford of Europe, Bruce Swift, who has been director of vehicle operations purchasing since 1998, succeeds Kunze. Swift reports to Carlos Mazzorin, Ford Motor group vice president for global purchasing, and David Thursfield, president of Ford of Europe.
Swift, 46, joined Ford Motor Co. in 1992 after working for Honda of America Manufacturing. He then held several different positions in Ford's purchasing organization, including purchasing manager of raw materials (1995); global director of raw materials (1996); and director of powertrain purchasing (1997).