Online auto-parts exchange Covisint names CEO

Online automotive exchange Covisint LLC today named a former investment house and Internet publishing executive as its new CEO.

Kevin English, 48, who since 1999 was a managing director and CEO for e-commerce at Credit Suisse First Boston and previously was chairman and CEO of TheStreet.com, a financial news Web site, will begin his new job May 1. He was also named Covisint's chairman and president.

At a press introduction today in the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich., English said he will lead the company by centering its attention on its customers through support, training and continuing customer acquisition.

While "more than a hundred [online marketplaces] have gone the way of the dino" in the past year, English said, the difference is that the failed ventures have been public companies without the deep support of industry. Where there is industry sponsorship, as in the Covisint model, there is a better chance of success, he said.

Covisint, in Southfield, Mich., was formed in February 2000 by the Big Three automakers, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG, as a global online marketplace for parts and services procurement through a vast network of suppliers.

Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA have also joined Covisint, which was created with software and services from Commerce One Inc. and Oracle Corp.

English, a 1975 graduate of Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., also previously was a vice president and general manager at Nexis Enterprise Group and a vice president of sales and marketing for Lexis-Nexis. He also has experience in technology with companies that include Computervision Corp., Aries Technology, Jupiter Technology, Control Data and Xerox Corp.

In December, Covisint completed its legal incorporation, allowing it to hire a CEO and a staff and to begin charging for its services.

Last September, the new company received a green light from the German government to operate the online exchange.

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