Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s top supply chain executive in the United States has retired, and the automaker has no plans to hire a replacement.
Sandra Gillespie, senior vice president of procurement and supply for Mitsubishi Motors North America's manufacturing unit, retired on Sept. 1, citing personal reasons, the company said. Gillespie, 56, had worked at Mitsubishi since 1989.
Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin said the automaker has no plans to replace Gillespie. Her responsibilities are being assumed by other U.S. supply chain personnel, he said.
Gillespie's retirement comes at a pivotal time for Mitsubishi's U.S. manufacturing operations. Mitsubishi executives are expected to announce a new product or vehicle platform to be built at the company's Normal, Ill., assembly plant by the end of the year.
The plant has produced 19,309 vehicles this year through Sept. 4, well below its 200,000-unit annual capacity, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Mitsubishi builds the Galant sedan, Endeavor SUV, Eclipse coupe and Eclipse Spyder -- all derived from the company's aging “PS” vehicle platform -- at the plant. The vehicles were once the bread-and-butter of Mitsubishi's U.S. vehicle lineup, but sales have fallen precipitously in recent years as the models have aged.
Mitsubishi missed a Sept. 1 contractual deadline to commit new product to the plant under terms of its 2008 collective bargaining agreement with UAW-represented workers at the plant. Mitsubishi submitted a proposal to extend the new product deadline, but UAW workers at the plant voted it down in late August. As a result, Mitsubishi increased the base wage of workers at the plant to about $25.60 per hour, up from $24.
Gillespie joined Mitsubishi in 1989 and took a lead role in establishing the automaker's U.S. service and parts business, which did not exist when she was hired. She later held a number of leadership roles in the company's manufacturing and supply chain operations until she was named to her most recent position in 2004.