CEO Dialogue with Magna International – September 2020

Magna is a mobility technology company and one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers with 347 manufacturing operations and 94 product development, engineering and sales centres in 27 countries. Magna has more than 152,000 entrepreneurial-minded employees dedicated to delivering mobility solutions.

This month’s CEO Dialogue featured three Magna senior executive officers:

  • Tom Skudutis is responsible for the overall management, strategy and Development of Magna’s manufacturing divisions around the world.
  • Matteo Del Sorbo leads critical commercial strategies relating to the core operating Groups of Magna as well as taking a key role in Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures for Magna globally.
  • Mike Sinnaeve has over 40 years of prolific experience in the automotive and operations industries, Mike is a member of the First Robotics Executive Advisory Board.

Safety of employees and the health of their supply base are Magna’s biggest concerns right now. Magna created a playbook for safely restarting that was sent to all facilities and more than 10,000 suppliers. As Tom Skuditis said, “it is the weakest link that will take the chain down”, so it is very important to Magna to have all workplaces using the same playbook. Magna has also avoided workplace outbreaks due to safety innovations like an app that screens employee wellbeing daily. Prior to coming to work, employees must answer questions on the app, including logging their temperature. The app is linked to a database managed by HR and uses a colour coded system to trigger various workflows.

Magna remains cautiously optimistic about the restart and the direction of the automotive industry in general. With operations globally, Magna is seeing regional differences, however, customer demand remains strong and Magna continues to invest in areas deemed important for their future. Magna is planning for COVID to continue for the foreseeable future and are hopeful that the systems put in place during the first wave will mean a shutdown will not be required.

While Magna runs a decentralized management model, the Magna culture includes a preference to buy local and COVID has highlighted the importance of a regional supply base. COVID has not led them to change their sourcing strategies. Magna plants in Ontario largely produce to export and assuming exchange rates, duties and rules under USMCA remain favourable, Ontario will continue to be a good location for them especially given the tier 2 and 3 support.