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Andersson is chief of GM purchasing

Fence-mender replaces Harold Kutner, who steps down after 39-year career

Andersson replaces Kutner
Bo Andersson becomes GM's vice president of worldwide purchasing, production control and logistics, replacing Harold Kutner, who will retire.

Bo Andersson

Age: 46

Career highlights: Officer in Swedish army; joined Saab in 1987; named Saab purchasing executive in 1990; moved to the United States in 1993 as director of electric purchasing; named GM Europe purchasing executive in 1997; appointed executive in charge of worldwide purchasing in 1999

Harold Kutner

Age: 61

Career highlights: Joined GM's Harrison Radiator division in 1963; named director of materials for Buick-Olds-Cadillac Lansing product team in 1986; named vice president in charge of worldwide purchasing in 1994; named group vice president for worldwide purchasing in 1998; helped form Covisint online exchange

DETROIT - Bo Andersson, the General Motors purchasing executive who has helped heal the automaker's relations with suppliers, has been named to replace Harold Kutner as vice president of worldwide purchasing, North American production control and logistics.

Andersson begins his new job Dec. 1. Kutner will retire at the end of the year, ending a 39-year career at GM. The promotion brings Andersson seats on GM's Automotive Strategy Board and North American Strategy Board.

Kutner, 61, also hands off his most recent project, a global effort to cut the time between when a dealer places an order and when the vehicle arrives at the dealership.

In North America, the order-to-deliver time has been cut from about 75 days two years ago to about 35 days now. GM's goal is to reduce that wait by 20 percent, or another seven days, next year, Kutner said Friday, Nov. 9, during an interview.

It was Kutner, along with former purchasing executive J. Ignacio Lopez, who shocked the supplier community in the early 1990s by tearing up contracts, shopping components to competing suppliers for lowest prices and demanding global supply capabilities. The moves embittered many suppliers, who found a friendlier approach at rival Chrysler Corp. and its Supplier Cost Reduction Effort (SCORE) cost-sharing program.

Over the past two years, GM has begun to heal those wounds. Under Andersson, 46, the automaker's purchasing group set up the GM BuyPower Internet site, which allows GM suppliers to get real-time data on the defect rate of parts at GM's plants. GM also began giving some top-performing suppliers preference on contracts for future programs. GM and its alliance partners purchase $129 billion in goods and services a year.

GM also launched the Shared Savings Initiative, which gives back to suppliers 35 percent of any cost savings from ideas GM accepts. Kutner said the automaker already has reviewed more than 8,000 cost-savings ideas from suppliers.

"We came to the conclusion that you can't paint the purchasing process with the same brush year after year," Kutner said. "We recognize that you have to keep your suppliers healthy."

Kutner also represented GM for the creation of the Covisint online exchange. He said he feels good about Covisint's growth and predicted Covisint will reach the breakeven point in 2002.

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