DETROIT — Stellantis, the parent company of the Chrysler and Jeep automotive brands, has appointed a new head of purchasing and supply chain in North America amid deteriorating relations with its suppliers.
Marlo Vitous, 45, the company's supply chain vice president, is replacing Martin Horneck, who is retiring, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Automotive News. Horneck, 59, had been hired by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2020 ahead of the merger with PSA Group that formed Stellantis.
Stellantis confirmed Horneck's departure but did not comment further.
The change comes shortly after Stellantis created controversy among its suppliers with new purchasing terms and conditions that it later rescinded — and one day after a prominent study gauging suppliers' relationship with major automakers ranked the company lowest for a second consecutive year.
In Plante Moran's annual Working Relations Index released Monday, Stellantis dropped to the study's lowest ranking for any North American automaker in more than a decade. FCA had received low marks in the study even before the January 2021 merger with PSA.
Stellantis had caused a stir this year when it introduced new contract language that would have forced suppliers to absorb more costs.
Among the new terms, which the company canceled this month, was a rule requiring North American suppliers to immediately pass on cost savings to Stellantis but prohibited them from charging higher prices when costs rise. Stellantis also had tried to give itself the ability to extend a supplier's contract unilaterally.