DETROIT -- Bo Andersson, the global purchasing chief who reinvented the way General Motors did business with thousands of parts suppliers, has left the bankrupt automaker.
Andersson, 53, was GM group vice president for purchasing and supply chain since 2001. He was instrumental in cutting $2 billion annually from the automakers parts bill.
"Bo has made tremendous contributions to the development of our global purchasing and supply chain strategy as weve globalized our product line portfolios and manufacturing footprint, CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement.
GM said Andersson was leaving to pursue other career interests, and said a successor would be named soon.GM announced his departure soon after 9 a.m. EDT (15:00 CET) Friday, and said it was effective immediately.
Until North American production collapsed last year, the native of Sweden oversaw a purchasing budget of $86 billion -- a figure larger than the gross domestic product of 170 nations.
GM has long had a reputation for aggressive tactics. This is a good industry to be in if you are strong, and a bad one if you are weak, Andersson once said.
His constant weeding out of suppliers generated anger among small and large parts makers alike. In one case, a supplier executive upset about being forced to lay off employees because of a GM purchasing decision, grabbed Andersson by the tie.
But there were occasional cracks in the hard shell. For example, Andersson was visibly upset by a critical letter to the editor from an animal rights proponent in response to an anecdote in an Automotive News profile that described how, as a child in Sweden with a hunger for chocolate, Andersson snatched the neighbors cat and sold it for $5.
When he felt economic concentration was keeping prices high, Andersson lured new players into the fray -- French seat maker Faurecia, for example -- to increase competition.
Still, he managed to improve years of dismal GM-supplier relations that had the automaker ranked dead last in annual supplier satisfaction surveys.
His hands-on approach to purchasing intimidated supplier CEOs. He tracked down every glitch and stumble on his Blackberry. His aides bought batteries for the handheld device by the carton.
Andersson, a former colonel in the Swedish Army, startled supplier executives by showing up unannounced at the delivery dock of companies, looking for inefficiencies and a chance to talk to unguarded employees.
More recently, he worked with the U.S. Treasury to help stabilize the supply base through a federal payment program that provided credit to suppliers.
He joined Swedish automaker Saab in 1987. He became GMs vice president of global purchasing and supply chain in 2001, succeeding Harold Kuttner, and was named group vice president in 2007.