DETROIT -- Kevin English on Friday resigned as chairman and CEO of the Covisint automotive exchange after just 14 months in that job. Former General Motors global purchasing executive Harold Kutner has replaced English, who began his tenure at Covisint May 1, 2001.
Bruce Swift, 47, former vice president of purchasing for Ford of Europe, also was named Covisint's president and COO.
English, 49, said Friday morning in a conference call that he has put the exchange on the path toward profitability and that it was time to return home to the East Coast where his family resides.
Covisint, which was created by the Big 3 in February 2000, also laid off about 25 full-time and 25 contracted employees in the United States Wednesday and an undisclosed number in Europe. The company laid off about 50 of its employees and contracted employees in April.
Last year Covisint eliminated the jobs of more than 275 contractors and consultants, whom the company had relied on heavily during its startup.
"Over the past 14 months, I, along with the management team, have taken a company that was struggling and put it on a path to profitability," English said.
"I've stabilized the business, restructured the organization and put in place one of the best leadership teams in the industry and certainly the best I've ever had the pleasure to work with."
Both Kutner, 61, and English said that Covisint will be profitable in the fourth quarter of this year.
English said Covisint's revenue would increase by 25 percent to 30 percent. Today, the company has 7,000 suppliers using the exchange and annual revenue of about $60 million, Kutner said.
Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler AG conceived and developed Covisint, which went live in September 2000. Nissan, Renault and Peugeot are minority equity partners.
Covisint is restructuring its business to try to become profitable for the first time by the end of this year. The restructuring calls for the creation of two business units: Strategic Sourcing and the Industry Portal and Connectivity Applications groups.
Strategic Sourcing will oversee auctions, catalogs and sourcing services. The Industry Portal unit will focus on portal development and collaboration tools. Each will be accountable for meeting profit goals.
Covisint's new business plan differs from the old in that it concentrates more on services instead of its online supplier exchange.
Kutner said Covisint plans to continue using the new business plan.
"What we're trying to do here is continue the vision of the company as Kevin has led it for the past year," Kutner said. "We're not anticipating drastic changes in what we're doing. If there's any change relative to our movement forward, it's focusing more on the supplier side of the business relative to growth and continuing to serve the auto manufacturers' side."
Ralph Kisiel is a staff writer for Automotive News. Andrew Dietderich is a staff writer for