DETROIT -- A management upheaval is unfolding at the supplier that operates the Ford GT assembly plant.
Rich Rinke, the 43-year-old COO at Saleen Inc., is out. CEO Steve Saleen fired Rinke in late January and several other employees in late February.
Saleen Inc. is best known as a West Coast Mustang tuner. But with its experience building the Saleen S7 supercar, the company was tapped by Ford Motor Co. to assemble the GT sports car.
Steve Saleen and Ford say the management changes are not related to the GT program or any of the quality glitches that the sports car has experienced. They also say the changes have not affected GT production, which is rolling again after a seven-week shutdown because of a recalled part.
In an interview last week, Steve Saleen downplayed the significance of the shakeup. "The facts are we made some management changes," he said. "None of them affected the GT."
But the terminations did involve employees who had been involved with the GT project.