GM Purchasing chief (and Swede) Bo Andersson resigns

This is quite unexpected and very hopeful news.
Bo Andersson is reputed to be one hard-headed purchasing guy. As you’ll se below, he started at Saab and was later retained by GM and heads their worldwide purchasing operations.
There’s no word as to where he’s going, but the timing’s quite amazing, isn’t it?
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General Motors Global Purchasing Group Vice President Bo I. Andersson To Pursue Other Career Interests
BoAndersson.jpgDETROIT – General Motors President and Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson announced today that Bo I. Andersson, group vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, has decided to leave GM to pursue other career opportunities, effective immediately.
“Bo has made tremendous contributions to the development of our global purchasing and supply chain strategy as we’ve globalized our product line portfolios and manufacturing footprint,” Henderson said.
Andersson, 53, joined GM in 1987 as a manager at SAAB AB located in Sweden. Previous appointments include executive director, Purchasing of Electrical commodities and later of Chemical commodities. He also held the position of GM Europe vice president of Purchasing. Bo was appointed vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain in December 2001 and was appointed a group vice president in 2007.
A successor to Bo will be named in the near future.

Bo Andersson on Saab and separation

The following article was published today in the Swedish publication, e24.se. ctm has been kind enough to do a translation and mail it through.
Bo Andersson is a Swede, and one of GM’s most important executives. He heads up the purchasing department, responsible for billions of dollars of expenditure right around the world.
Back on February 20, Saab would have had some concerns with purchases. They not only had a lot of bills to pay, they also had plans to bring the 9-5 back to Trollhattan and the required tooling was initially supposed to be taken to Russelsheim.
Those concerns are now sorted, as you’ll read below. It doesn’t sound like Saab will be able to lure Andersson into a more relaxed lifestyle back home, but his role in securing Saab’s future right now is important anyway and I’m sure it’s appreciated by all the executive in Trollhattan.
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GM will pay the production tools for the new Saab 9-5, despite the fact that both companies are under reconstruction. That is the statement from Bo Andersson, Group Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, and part of GM top management. But the future of Saab is nothing he want’s to talk about.
As more and more candidates leaves, there are more and more question marks about exactly who are willing to go all the way and buy Saab. Bo Andersson is not one to speculate.
– “It would be wrong of me as a member of the executive board. We paid the suppliers in February. It’s now up to the reorganization lawyers to find a solution.”
The managements involvement in the work to sell Saab is kept to a minimum after a bankruptcy judge took the helm at the US operations.
– “We leave that to the Saab management and the lawyers. As you know, we have many other things to work with.”
GM is still involved in Saab’s purchasing operation.
– “We have a service contract with Saab where we make sure that our suppliers continue to support Saab, and then they get paid through the reorganization lawyer. We have given Saab an allowance so they have enough money to survive in the short term.
The question wether or not the bankruptcy judge will demand that Saab pay their debts of almost 10 billion SEK to GM is another thing he wont discuss.
– “That would be pure speculation on my part to answer that. We have to wait and see.”
GM has previously promised to make available for Saab all the tooling needed to produce the new 9-5. That being up in the air is not something Bo Andersson agrees on.
– “As an executive board we have stated that we are prepared to finalize the development work on the 9-5 and move it to Trollhättan.”
The tooling for the car is paid by Opel, and the plan calls for Magna to move in as Opels new owner. But Bo Andersson does not see the owner situation as a complicating factor.
– “No, we still do business as one global corporation and the tools that are being completed in Europe – it’s about a cost of about 150 million Dollars – is something we will pay for.”
Since the platform for the 9-5 is the same as for the Opel Insignia and the Buick Lacrosse, Bo Anderssons view is that it is impossible not to pay some part of it all.
GM’s Chapter 11 will make it to the history books. During the good times, the company spent all the money on growing. When good times turned in to bad times, there were no money left.
– “It’s always easy to be wise with the history in your hands. We thought the good times would continue.”
According to Bo Andersson, it’s easy to state today that they should have seen the change coming.
– “I’m honest when I say that we bet all our cards on expanding our business and all of a sudden we were grasping for air. It was partly a misjudgment, or exaggerated optimism.
Will you continue working for GM?
– “Currently, I have enough to work with here and I feel that I’m needed. The U.S. Government has expressed their satisfaction with how the purchase operation works.”
He believes that a reconstructed, debt free GM will have a strong position on the world market with the models that they already have or are planning to launch, like the Chevrolet Volt.
– “There is nothing that doesn’t permit us to be a strong player. We are still today a major player. Our largest brand is Chevrolet and we are successful with that brand in the US, Latin America and Russia. Buick is the largest brand in China.”

Jonsson on Saab buyers, Andersson on the 2010 Saab 9-5, Winterkorn on scrap – interview snippets

So many interviews going around and there’s so little time to cover them all!
How in the world is one blogger supposed to fit in a day job?
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Dagens Industri have published an interview with GM’s purchasing chief, Bo Andersson. Yes, he’s Swedish.
I’m having to read-between-the-translation here, but I suspect that Saab’s outstanding creditors bill was so big because there was a lot of 2010 Saab 9-5 tooling included in it. Here’s a rough translation from one section:

The five biggest suppliers/creditors are Lear, IAC, Aisin Warner, Arcelor Mittal and Thyssen Krupp. “we have no problems with the deliveries to Saab now”, says Andersson.
The suppliers may also paid for the tools that have been produced for the new 9-5 model where the development work almost is clear.
“I count with that it new 9-5 the model can be launched during the end of 2009”, says Andersson.

If I’m misinterpreting that, please let me know.
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The Wall Street Journal have an article with a few bits from Jan-Ake Jonsson, in Geneva.
Apparently talks are going to ramp up this week with those 7 or 8 interested parties (I wish someone would tell us whether it’s 7 or 8), though this bit is a cause for concern:

Saab is working with Deutsche Bank and has begun discussions with potential investors from both the auto industry and with investors outside the industry. He declined to name any of Saab’s suitors, but said it is possible a deal could be completed by next year.

My emphasis added.
I don’t want to startle anyone – BUT SAAB DON’T HAVE UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!!!!! GM will help out only until December 31st of this year. And that’s if they make it that long themselves.
Hopefully it’s a typo and they meant next weekend 🙂
The WSJ aren’t being glass-half-full types:

With the global auto industry hitting the brakes amid widespread economic downturn, Saab’s chances of finding another investor appears to be an uphill battle.
“A key issue for a buyer is going to be whether they can cut an attractive deal (for both sides) with GM regarding manufacturing capacity, supply base continuity, and access to future platforms that are already in the pipeline,” Michael D. Benson, an investment banker with Stout Risius Ross Advisors in Southfield, Mich., said

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And finally, Volkswagen chief, Martin Winterkorn, has been interviewed by Spiegel. When not whining about prospects of the German government bailing Opel – something for which he’s rightly concerned, I guess – he takes time to mention a policy that the Swedish government should be implementing.

SPIEGEL: The German government also wants to help the auto industry. It has already earmarked €1.5 billion ($1.88 billion) for scrapping bonuses. Doesn’t this chiefly promote the purchase of small Italian and French cars?
Winterkorn: We also benefit from it, and that’s why such programs are okay. They do not exclusively help the companies in one country. It is important to ensure that we too will experience a significant boost as a result. And that is the case. Normally, about 2,000 people a day order a Volkswagen in Germany. That number jumped to more than 6,000 in February. Dealerships have been staying open until 10 p.m. on Saturdays. Based on order volume, this will be the best February in many years.

The scrapping bonus is where the government pays you, as the owner of an old, polluting vehicle, to scrap it in favour of buying a nice shiny clean vehicle.
I’m amazed the Swedes, with their enviro-credentials, -aspirations and -foresight haven’t instituted something like this as well. I know the car industry over there has been calling for it and it seems to be a good way to stimulate the sector without favouring one particular brand.
Makes sense, especially in these difficult times.

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