Speaker: Peter Weiss
Title: DaimlerChrysler's lead representative at Covisint
The lengthy search for a Covisint CEO has produced two 'very serious candidates,' said Peter Weiss, DaimlerChrysler's lead representative on the electronic exchange.
Covisint went live two months ago with its first online auction, but it still has no permanent CEO.
'We have various candidates and two very serious candidates,' Weiss said. 'The negotiations are ongoing.'
He could not say when a final decision would be made.
Two Tier 1 suppliers said the difficulty Covisint is experiencing in finding a permanent CEO has not become a problem for them.
'As far as our relationship with Covisint is concerned, this is no issue for Valeo,' said Andre Navarri, chairman and CEO of Valeo. Covisint has organized teams in place that can operate without a permanent CEO, Navarri said.
'It's not an easy search,' said Richard Radecki, corporate director of the e-Business Program Office at Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. 'They need someone with the moxie to stand between the investor owners.'
Covisint, which began pilot auctions October 3, was conceived and developed by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, and later joined by Renault and Nissan.
'They have given this search a high priority,' Radecki said.
Addressing the issue of neutrality, Weiss said Covisint will not exclude any automaker or supplier. Volkswagen and BMW have been asked to join Covisint, Weiss said. But Volkswagen has launched its own private Internet marketplace and BMW is doing the same. Weiss said that Covisint wants to discuss with Volkswagen and BMW how to create standards and how the three marketplaces can connect with each other.
Covisint expects to be legally incorporated this month, Weiss said. An initial public offering also is a priority.
'We are absolutely striving for an IPO,' Weiss said. Making it a public company will add to Covisint's neutrality, he said.
'We want to show some solid performance first,' Weiss said. 'The public venture capital has dried up so we have to show some real performance.'
Covisint will begin hiring permanent employees once it is incorporated. It currently has 350 employees - a number that increases to 400 at times - on loan from the member automakers, and from consultants and technology companies.
To ensure neutrality, the five automakers will represent a minority interest on the governing board, Weiss said.
During the launch of its initial products, the automakers are using Covisint's product and supply chain collaboration tools first, and suppliers are using the auction tools as fast as they can, Weiss said.