Monday, January 7, 2008

New Chrysler purchasing chief looks to Asia

DETROIT — John Campi, the architect of Bob Nardelli's purchasing strategy at Home Depot, will direct Chrysler LLC's $40 billion annual purchase of parts and services.

Campi's appointment last week as Chrysler's executive vice president of procurement signals Nardelli's desire to buy more parts from Asia.

Campi replaces Simon Boag, who was named executive vice president for global alliance operations. Both report to Chrysler President Tom LaSorda.

Boag's newest assignment comes just seven months after he was named purchasing chief last May, before Nardelli became CEO. A Chrysler spokesman said Friday, Jan. 4, that Boag will manage alliances but will not negotiate new deals.

Instead, Nardelli will rely on two executives — L. John Cataldo, a General Electric veteran hired by Nardelli last year as vice president of mergers and acquisitions, and Phil Murtaugh, CEO of Asian operations — to negotiate deals.

Campi's task is clear: dramatically expand the company's purchasing from low-cost markets.

Nardelli wanted a trusted lieutenant in the purchasing job, and Campi has studied Chrysler's global purchasing operations. After joining Chrysler as an adviser last year, Campi took Boag to some of the company's major procurement offices worldwide, Chrysler spokesman Kevin Frazier confirmed.

Chrysler has struggled to expand the number of parts it buys from low-cost countries, a source said. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have had more success buying components overseas.

Former Chrysler purchasing chief Peter Rosenfeld launched Chrysler's efforts to increase purchases from lower-cost countries.

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