Collins & Aikman Corp. last week announced two management changes that CEO Thomas Evans said will support the supplier's global realignment.
The company has recruited Rajesh Shah from UT Automotive to become executive vice president and CFO. At UT Automotive, CFO Shah was credited, in Evans' words, with 'transforming the company's separate component businesses into an integrated operating system.'
That is precisely the kind of transformation Collins & Aikman is seeking now.
The interiors supplier is moving from Charlotte, N.C., to Troy, Mich. That is the first step in converting Collins & Aikman's five separate operating business units into one cohesive company.
Shah's assignment will be to bring together financial reporting, accounting, business systems and computing operations of the company's carpeting, fabric, acoustics, plastics and convertible top units.
'This is something that needs to happen at Collins & Aikman,' Evans said. 'It's something he did very successfully at United Technologies to help that company better integrate.'
Collins & Aikman also is hoping Shah can help orchestrate a financial lift. The company lost $3.8 million last year and has been put on credit watch by Standard & Poor's Corp., which cited its poor earnings and high debt.
The company has announced plans to eliminate 500 jobs.
As part of his executive reorganization, Evans has moved his former top financial officer, J. Michael Stepp, into the new position of executive vice president for corporate planning and development. Evans said that move will give the five business units a more unified front in business planning.
In the past, the company's units often pursued their own strategic plans, Evans said. But the past three years of growth have turned Collins & Aikman into a key industry player that needs a unified strategy.
With global 1998 original-equipment sales of $1.8 billion, the company ranked No. 21 among Automotive News' Top 150 North American suppliers.
Evans said the company should be able to move into its new Troy headquarters by the end of October.