One of the key people involved in the search for a Covisint CEO says there is no shortage of candidates. The challenge is finding the person who best fits the job.
The CEO search drags on despite months of delays and questions about Covisint's ability to become the dominant online buying exchange for the auto industry.
Ford Motor Co. Vice President Brian Kelley said Covisint must have a CEO who is:
1. Able to cope with the complexity of an enormous industry, dealing with the concerns of both suppliers and automakers.
2. Technically savvy, because Covisint is about information technology infrastructure and creating an architecture to connect suppliers and auto manufacturers. 'This person must understand the technology inside an OEM, a supplier and inside a startup,' Kelley said.
3. A talent magnet. A company lives and dies by the people it brings in, he said. 'You have to bring in a CEO who can be the Pied Piper and bring others in,' Kelley said.
4. A charismatic leader who can create a culture that is a startup environment, yet is implanted firmly in one of the most established, largest and most complex industries in the world.
The search is being conducted by Kelley, Harold Kutner of General Motors and Gary Valade of DaimlerChrysler.
It has been almost a year since the automakers announced they would create the online trading exchange with suppliers.
Covisint, which expects to handle transactions that are worth at least $240 billion per year, began operations in October.
Kelley said the CEO search didn't begin in earnest until November, after the e-marketplace received government approval in the United States and Germany.
'We couldn't go out to somebody and say, `Well, we think we'll be approved and we believe that we may have a company here,' ' Kelley said.
Kelley would not give a timetable for picking the CEO.
'Now we have a clear indication of what's necessary,' he said. 'In the last two months, we've had a very focused search on talent that can deliver on those four characteristics.'
In pilot operations during 2000, Covisint held online auctions in at least 10 countries.