NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The leader of a pioneering Southeastern automaker and the chief of one of North America's biggest suppliers will share the podium at the Automotive News Southeast Conference.
Jerry Benefield, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A., will speak Sunday night, April 26, to kick off the event.
Joining him will be Robert Oswald, chairman, president and CEO of Robert Bosch Corp. Oswald's company is the U.S. subsidiary of Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH, where he is also an associate member of the board of management.
More than a dozen auto executives and industry speakers will address the April 26-28 conference at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
The theme is 'A Regional Manufacturing Center Tied to a Global Industry.' The event is co-sponsored by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group and Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Benefield has been CEO of the Nissan complex in Smyrna, Tenn., since 1988, and has been a senior manager since the project's inception in 1980.
Benefield is a former plant manager at Ford Motor Co.'s Dearborn, Mich., assembly plant. At Nissan, he has helped turn the Southeast into a major industry growth area. Smyrna ranks among the continent's largest manufacturing complexes, with an annual capacity of 450,000 vehicles.
In the process, Nissan has become a cornerstone for dozens of new supplier plants in the South.
Oswald came to Bosch in 1989. He is an electrical engineer by training, and worked for General Motors and Ford Motor Co. from the 1950s until the 1980s. Before coming to Bosch, he was vice president and general manager for electronics at Cummins Engine Co. in Columbus, Ind.
Last year, Bosch had North American OEM sales of $3.3 billion. Much of its product is from Southeast plants. Its parent, the world's largest independent supplier, had 1997 OEM sales of $16.5 billion.