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Covisint CEO steps down

Kevin English, chief executive of the auto industry's online marketplace, will be replaced by a former General Motors vice president, the company announces.

The CEO of online automotive marketplace Covisint has resigned and will be replaced by a former General Motors vice president.

Friday's announcement did not provide information about CEO Kevin English's plans. But English said in Covisint's statement that "with the company near profitability, my goals are accomplished. I leave Covisint on solid footing and poised for profitability in the fourth quarter of this year."

English will be replaced by Harold Kutner, former group vice president for worldwide purchasing at GM.

Backers of the auto industry's online marketplace include DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, GM, Nissan, Renault, Commerce One and Oracle.

English came to Covisint in spring 2001, not from the automotive world, but from Wall Street. He had served as managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston and as chief executive of TheStreet.com, an online financial news site. The appointment prompted some concerns from analysts who were expecting the new business to choose a leader with more experience in manufacturing.

The future of online marketplaces seemed bright a few years ago. But like other forms of e-commerce, online marketplaces have faced tough times. General Electric, for example, recently announced plans to sell its Global Exchange unit, which ran a business-to-business electronic marketplace, to technology buyout fund Francisco Partners for $800 million.