Don't expect drastic changes when Bo Andersson becomes General Motors' No. 2 purchasing executive.
The 43-year-old Swede was named 'executive-in-charge' of worldwide purchasing - a new position that essentially makes him GM procurement's chief operating officer. He is very much a product of Harold Kutner's global purchasing empire.
Andersson was one of Kutner's top lieutenants five years ago when Kutner took over GM's procurement operation shortly after J. Ignacio Lopez left the company.
Following current GM President Rick Wagoner's one-year stint as interim procurement chief, Kutner continued Lopez's campaign to convert the lumbering bureaucracy into a nimbler global operation.
As the highest ranking European at GM's Detroit headquarters - and heir apparent to Kutner - An-dersson is in a good position to complete that transition.
Following a six-year stint at Saab, Andersson joined General Motors in 1993.
After Kutner was named top purchaser in 1994, Andersson, then GM's Detroit-based executive director of electrical parts, reported directly to Kutner.
Andersson helped Kutner carry out his purchasing strategy, offering bigger sales volumes to suppliers in return for price cuts.
Suppliers say Andersson, a former Swedish army officer, fits the Kutner mold as a hard-nosed negotiator.
'When he left Saab, he came to Detroit and kicked butt,' said one supplier who has dealt with Andersson. 'He was very aggressive - a very hard charger.'
Both Kutner and Andersson declined requests for interviews.
Suppliers do not expect Kutner - or his eventual successor - to adopt a Chrysler-style purchasing strategy. Chrysler does not require competitive bids as long as suppliers meet price targets.
'Andersson is not going to be a junior Tom Stallkamp,' the executive said.
'I think it will be business as usual.' Andersson currently is vice president of supply for GM Europe. Since his appointment to the GM Europe post in March 1997, Andersson's job was to make sure Opel's new European models came to market on time.
Andersson oversaw the 1998 introduction of the new Astra and Zafira.
In a related management move:
Robert Socia, a 45-year-old American, will take Andersson's job at GM Europe. Socia is executive director for chemicals at the worldwide purchasing group in Detroit.