Mercedes Figueroa is now vice-president of transportation for North America at Stellantis, leading logistics functions for the carmaker across the region and for international parts and vehicle flows.
Figueroa, who had previously worked at Stellantis, FCA and Chrysler entities, returned to the company in July, replacing Christopher Mattingly, who retired earlier this spring after more than 35 years with the company. Figueroa reports to Anna Markett, senior vice-president of supply chain for North America at Stellantis.
“Although the automotive logistics and supply chain industry is facing profound changes from the transition to EVs, capacity and equipment constraints, and managing rising costs, to name a few, I am truly energised by the opportunities and technologically innovative solutions that we can develop through stronger, more integrated and strategic relationships with our business partners to address these challenges,” Figueroa told Automotive Logistics.
Mercedes Figueroa is a highly respected logistics executive with more than 25 years of experience across supply chain, logistics and procurement. She has a track record of significant network improvement and cost savings, as well as building teams and promoting diversity and inclusion in the automotive industry.
Figueroa started her career in logistics in her native Mexico City with then-Chrysler, working in controlling and strategy planning. She moved to the carmaker’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters in 2000 initially on an expat assignment, coordinating logistics flows and costs within Mexico and for suppliers to Mexico. She would go on to spend much of her career with the central team in a range of roles of increasing responsibility, including finance, customs, damage prevention, logistics network design, operations and procurement, and senior manager roles in international regional flows.
By the time Figueroa returned to Mexico in 2014 – by then an American citizen – it was a reverse expat role, as head of logistics and customs for the country at then-FCA, a role she would hold until 2017. She returned to the US in 2018, working in senior roles for FCA and with Stellantis following the merger with PSA in 2021, mainly in logistics procurement for North American inland transport and for international aftersales.
She has a bachelors in industrial systems and engineering, an MBA, as well as further degrees in executive management, accounting and finance.
A track record in efficiency, cost saving and leadership
In April 2022, Figueroa left Stellantis to work for PwC’s Indirect Purchasing organisation, part of the company’s internal services group. She led on improving the company’s business intelligence through digital system solutions to increase accuracy and the speed of decision making, amongst other areas. She was also responsible for PwC’s Diversity and Net Zero programmes.
Figueroa is well-versed in training and mentoring team members and fostering a culture of effective communication and positive performance feedback. She is a certified executive coach and personality styles teacher, with a strong focus on team development and coaching.
She has also worked extensively to promote diversity and inclusion throughout her career. At Stellantis, for example, she actively participated in the company’s board of Business Resource Groups, which organise networking opportunities and activities to promote cultural awareness, interest and support, including career development for women and those with Latin American backgrounds. Among these groups, she has held positions such as co-lead of career development for the Women’s Alliance; as sponsor of career development for DIVERSE abilities; and as president of Latins in Connection. When she was in Mexico, she was the president and founder of the Women’s Alliance of Mexico from 2014-2017.
In 2018, she received the North American top 50 Latina Award and in 2022 was part of the Women’s Leaders magazine during International Women’s month.
“Although the automotive logistics and supply chain industry is facing profound changes from the transition to EVs, capacity and equipment constraints, and managing rising costs, to name a few, I am truly energised by the opportunities and technologically innovative solutions that we can develop through stronger, more integrated and strategic relationships with our business partners to address these challenges”
– Mercedes Figueroa, Stellantis North America
Opportunities ahead: vehicle logistics, rail and Mexico
Figueroa’s return to the Stellantis logistics organisation is well timed, as the carmaker continues to ramp up production and volume in North America following improvement in chip shortages. It is also transforming its production and supply chain as it launches more electric vehicles and seeks to reduce manufacturing emissions as part of its Dare Forward 2030 strategy.
However, like other OEMs, the carmaker is facing significant challenges in logistics capacity, especially in finished vehicle rail, ro-ro and ports, as well as in Mexico. At the recent Finished Vehicle Logistics North America conference, Stellantis North America’s head of vehicle logistics, Nick Thompson, told Automotive Logistics that there was a need for capacity expansion in vehicle logistics “pretty much everywhere in vehicle logistics, and especially for rail and services in and out of Mexico.”
Figueroa’s extensive experience across all areas of logistics, notably in procurement, vehicle logistics and Mexico, make her well placed to support improvements.
Learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing the North American automotive logistics market at Automotive Logistics & Supply Chain Global, September 26-28, 2023 in Dearborn, Michigan. OEMs, suppliers, logistics providers and government will discuss how the industry can regain capacity, stability and confidence across the automotive supply chain. Find out more and register here