Key Exec Bails Out Of Covisint



A. Alan Turfe, the General Motors Corp. exec who has served since February as co-CEO for the still-forming auto exchange Covisint, has resigned to take the lead job at a startup metal-industry exchange. Turfe says he decided to take the CEO job at MetalSpectrum when he learned he wouldn't be the ultimate CEO at Covisint, a post he very much wanted. Covisint has operated with three co-CEOs, one each from GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Turfe was responsible for developing Covisint's business plan and its organizational structure, and he handled its human resources and purchasing.

"MetalSpectrum offered a great opportunity, and I could not turn them down," says Turfe, 34, the former head of TradeXchange, the GM-only business-to-business trading site that continues to operate while Covisint coalesces. Turfe's new company plans to begin selling copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and other metals to the aerospace and automotive industries in September.

Kevin Prouty, an analyst with AMR Research, says Turfe was widely considered "the guy who had the vision" of how Covisint should run. But the fact that Turfe was a GM exec played against him for the Covisint CEO job, Prouty says. The auto companies believe an independent Covisint needs a leader with no connections to the Big Three or their suppliers but who understands massive supply-chain dynamics.

Prouty says Covisint missed its original go-live date May 30 and is expected to start in September or October. He says Turfe's leaving may cause further delay, but it's happening before software vendors are chosen. Says Prouty: "If Turfe left during the time they were making these crucial technology decisions, his leaving would be a big hit."

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