Dan Knott, Chrysler

Chrysler executive Dan Knott, considered an all-around great guy, took medical retirement on April 13 due to cancer, and he sadly passed away on April 29. His 24-year tenure with The Pentastar began in the role of senior engineer. By the time he took the job as head of procurement in 2009, he had helped create marquee SRT models including the Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300C.

Knott's efforts to improve Chrysler's relationships with suppliers has even the suppliers praising him. After just three years on the job, the head of the Original Equipment Supplier's Association said Knott had done "more than any individual that I know of in the history of OEM/supplier relations" when it came turning around Chrysler's dealings with suppliers.

On top of that he was a racer, an Automotive News All-Star, an inductee into the Viper Club Hall of Fame, chairman of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, board member on a non-profit for people with disabilities, a key player in Chrysler's sustainability drive, and he enforced reviews of the business that the Chrysler's Tier 1 suppliers did with women- and minority-owned businesses. He will be missed.