Many automakers give lip service to boosting business opportunities for minority suppliers, but Chrysler Group's Kevin Bell put some teeth into the effort. In concert with the late Dan Knott when Knott was Chrysler's head of purchasing, Bell, 49, strongly encouraged Chrysler's Tier 1 suppliers to buy at least 10 percent of their purchases from minority businesses. If they weren't, the Tier 1's own contract with Chrysler was threatened.
All this came while the automaker itself raised its purchases from minority and women-owned businesses by $570 million between 2010 and 2011. Chrysler's practice has helped sustain minority suppliers that were particularly hard-hit during the Great Recession.