DETROIT - As the new president of its driveline and transmission group, Bruce Swift takes charge of automotive supplier Metaldyne Inc.'s largest operating unit. But his departure from the top job at Covisint LLC comes at a critical time.
Suppliers have questioned Covisint's value to the industry since the Big 3 created the online venture three years ago. Now, Covisint is testing a new service that could make it cheaper for suppliers to exchange electronic documents. Swift is the third person to step down from the top job in less than a year. But he retains the Covisint chairman's seat, which is worth noting, says analyst Kevin Prouty.
"Bruce Swift had a pretty significant role in keeping the OEMs in line," says Prouty, automotive research director at research firm GartnerG2 in Stamford, Conn. "It's a high-wire act - making sure that there aren't people inside the OEMs bad-mouthing Covisint and going off doing their own thing. And secondly, getting senior executives to give Covisint the time and authority to do the things that need to get done."
Robert Paul, Covisint's senior vice president of global sales and marketing, takes Swift's place as CEO. Paul, 40, says rolling out the data messaging service will be his main goal.
"That is of paramount importance to the company," Prouty says.