PURCHASING: Tony Brown
Group vice president of global purchasing, Ford Motor Co.
Turning suppliers into allies: When parts suppliers were asked in 2007 whom they liked to work with, Ford ranked dead last. By steadfastly pursuing a policy of choosing selected suppliers and working closely with them, Brown, 54, has pulled Ford up in the rankings to No. 3, behind traditional leaders Honda and Toyota. Brown's clear direction to a strong purchasing team has been to build trust rather than just beat up suppliers over price. Selling more vehicles and boosting suppliers' sales volumes help, too.