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English: Covisint pulling in money

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Kevin English, CEO of Covisint LLC, claims the automotive portal for suppliers and automakers has generated 'significant revenues' this year.

But English refused to offer figures to support his contention that Covisint is on its way to profitability. Speaking Friday, Aug. 10, during the Management Briefing Seminars, English, who completed his first 100 days as CEO on Aug. 8, said he is not prepared to talk about when he expects Covisint to turn a profit. He has steadfastly refused to provide revenue and cost figures.

'In June and July alone, our revenue more than doubled over what we accomplished for the previous five months of the year combined,' he said. 'So the revenue traction at Covisint is quite impressive.'

But the automotive e-marketplace, which has made strides under English, has lost its head of sales and soon will lose two more key executives.

Jacqui Dedo, who joined Covisint last December from Robert Bosch Corp., a Tier 1 auto supplier, quietly left Covisint two weeks ago. Dedo led Covisint's sales and customer enablement activities. English said a search is under way to replace her.

Dedo's departure comes at a critical juncture as English has been meeting with suppliers and automakers around the world in an effort to win new customers. Since English arrived, Covisint has added Peugeot as a minority partner and announced it will host a supplier portal for Delphi Automotive Systems Corp.

Other key executives leaving:

* Rico Digirolamo, acting CFO, is going back to General Motors as soon as Covisint finds a replacement. Digirolamo also served as acting CEO before English was hired.

* Doug Van Daagens, senior vice president of business development, will return to Ford Motor Co.

Ford, GM and DamlierChrysler founded the exchange.

Covisint also is dismissing scores of consultants at its Southfield, Mich., headquarters. During its initial development last year, Covisint relied heavily on expensive consultants. On May 1, Covisint had 375 to 400 contractors and consultants, English said. Today there are less than 100. By October it will have less than 30, he said.

The changes indicate English is putting his own management team in place, said Kevin Prouty, automotive research director at AMR Research.

'He wants a team that is marching to his beat,' Prouty said.

English has a lot of work ahead of him if comments of suppliers here indicate the general mood of the supply base.

Said the head of one German component supplier, who asked not to be named: 'We were eager to sign up at first because we thought our customers would require it. But we're waiting to see now. I'm still uncertain about the technology. I'm not clear on how it will fit it.'

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