Scott Kunselman is Chrysler’s new head of purchasing. He replaces Dan Knott who has been struggling with cancer since last year. Knott, who is credited for restoring Chrysler’s image with the suppliers, has taken a medical retirement effective immediately. Kunselman has been working for Chrysler since 1985. Most recently, he served as the head of engineering.
In a statement, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the 51-year-old Knott’s leadership was “vital” in efforts to revive Chrysler by cultivating a new culture based on a commitment to “meritocracy, excellence and accountability.” Marchionne said that Knott did an excellent job in restoring Chrysler's relations with suppliers and in improving its ability to offer products that are more competitive.
Knott, awarded as an Automotive News All-Star for purchasing in 2011, has been applauded for giving a fresh start to how Chrysler approaches suppliers as partners after having exited bankruptcy protection in 2009. For instance, Knott ended the practice of changing suppliers suddenly to save insignificant amounts of money on a parts contract. To train employees to stop passing the buck, Knott used videos.
He also made sure that suppliers are promptly paid and he scheduled regular meeting with supplier executives. In December 2009, Knott became Chrysler's senior vice president for purchasing and supplier quality. But it was in 1988 that Knott became a part of Chrysler as its senior engineer for air and fuel emissions systems.
He swiftly climbed up the corporate ranks to handle several vehicle development programs. Previously, he worked for American Motors Corp. and Bendix Electronics. Last February, Knott became the chairman of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council. He told Automotive News last month about his aggressive plan to increase business opportunities for suppliers whose owners are women or are from minority groups.