Fritz Henderson's unexpected resignation may have taken top billing today, but it wasn't the only move announced by General Motors today. Michael Richards has been named the new General Manager of Buick GMC effective immediately, with the automaker looking from outside the company to fill the roll. Richards replaces Susan Docherty, who was named Vice President of US Sales in October. Richards joins GM after a short stint at Trilogy Automotive in Austin, Texas, where he led the use of digital and Internet-based solutions. Richards also worked as a consultant for JD Power where he launched tools for improved vehicle launch profitability and customer satisfaction.
The bulk of Richards' experience comes from cross-town rival Ford where he worked from 1981-2008. Richards was most recently the marketing brand manager for Lincoln Mercury from 2006-2008. Prior to that he worked as the general sales manager for Ford Customer Service from 2002-2006.
Regardless of where Richards received his management chops, Vice Chairman and Marketing and Communications chief Bob Lutz likes what he has with the long-time Ford man. "We are pleased to have Mike as a member of the GM family. His vast sales and marketing experience will be invaluable in his new role, as he leads the team building the Buick and GMC brands."
DETROIT – Robert A. Lutz, GM vice chairman, marketing and communications, today named Michael D. Richards, 52, general manager of Buick GMC, effective immediately. Richards replaces Susan Docherty, who was appointed General Motors vice president, U.S. sales, in October.
"Michael is an automotive industry veteran who brings extensive experience in both marketing and sales," Lutz said. "We are confident he will build on the positive momentum Buick GMC has with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain, as well as the upcoming Buick Regal."
Richards brings a diverse automotive background to Buick GMC. He was most recently vice president of marketing and sales for the global automotive business at Trilogy, based in Austin, Texas. At Trilogy, he led the use of digital and internet-based solutions to assist automakers in building profitable share growth and improving customer satisfaction.
Prior to his time at Trilogy, he was a consultant to J.D. Power and Associates in Troy, Mich. In that capacity, he led the company's efforts to develop products to improve customer satisfaction, market share and profitability for newly launched vehicles, and developed a syndicated index to measure new vehicle launch performance.
From 1981 to 2008, Richards held several sales and marketing positions at the Ford Motor Company, including general marketing manager for the Lincoln Mercury Division from 2006 to 2008. While at Lincoln Mercury, he oversaw the launch of six new products in 14 months and significantly increased the brands' internet presence. He also was the general sales manager of the Ford Customer Service Division from 2002 to 2006, where he led all U.S. parts and service activities.
Richards also gained significant regional experience while at Ford, leading the Western Region in Los Angeles from 2000 to 2002, and the Great Lakes Region from 1998 to 1999.
Richards holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University and attended the Strategic Marketing Education Program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
"We are pleased to have Mike as a member of the GM family," Lutz said. "His vast sales and marketing experience will be invaluable in his new role, as he leads the team building the Buick and GMC brands."
About Buick GMC
Buick is in the midst of a transformation that started with the Enclave luxury crossover and continues with the completely redesigned LaCrosse luxury sedan and Regal sport sedan. Buick is emerging as a modern, premium brand with vehicles characterized by sculpted designs, personal technologies, luxurious interiors and responsive performance. Future new sedans and crossovers are planned and will continue to expand Buick's portfolio both in North America and China. More information can be found at www.buick.com.
GMC is one of the industry's healthiest brands and is evolving to include more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers. The all-new GMC Terrain is a smaller SUV that offers outstanding fuel economy along with the capability, engineering excellence and refinement that have defined GMC for more than a century. Complementing the Terrain is the Acadia eight-passenger crossover, Yukon and Yukon XL and Sierra pickups. Today GMC is the only manufacturer offering three full-size hybrid models. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com.