It seems like just yesterday Stellantis was rated as the worst automaker to work with by suppliers, in a Plante Moran survey which has been run since 2013. Almost at the same time, Stellantis’ global head of purchasing was replaced; and today, Automotive News reported that the North American head of supply chain, Martin Hornbeck, is retiring at the age of just 59. Hornbeck was hired in 2020, just two years ago, shortly before Stellantis was formed. Stellantis confirmed to the industry weekly that Hornbeck was leaving but gave no further details.
His replacement, according to Automotive News, is Marlo Vitous. A graduate of Wayne State (MBA) and Central Michigan University (BS), Marlo started out at Chrysler in 1998 as a manufacturing supervisor at Sterling Heights Assembly and Mack Engine; in 2001 she became a supplier quality specialist and supply chain specialist, and had to purchase steel during a crisis. She rose to senior manager, leading Internal Purchasing to get low-cost sources for North American products, in 2006; and in 2007 was promoted to senior manager in charge of powertrain purchasing (a $9 billion annual buy). Her last FCA job before Stellantis was created was global director for purchasing interior and electrical components, which ran from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, she was promoted to Vice President, Supply Chain.
Stellantis’ ratings by suppliers have been falling since the survey began, with a small improvement in 2020 and a stunning fall in the 2022 survey. The latter was likely caused by proposed new terms, which would have demanded that suppliers share any cost savings but prevent them from passing on higher costs—and would have given Stellantis the ability to indefinitely extend any contract. After suppliers rebelled against the new terms, Stellantis changed course.
The positions of all six automakers in the survey have been mainly unchanged, but the distance between Toyota and Honda on the high side and Stellantis, Nissan, and Ford on the low side has increased; until 2021, Stellantis was frequently changing places with Nissan. GM rose dramatically in Mary Barra’s first two years and has remained roughly stable since.