• Mar 2nd 2010 at 6:22PM
  • 27
It may be tough to remember the news earlier in the day that Bryan Nesbitt would be out as the head of Cadillac and back to his old position as executive director, advanced concept group. A metric ton of reveals from the Geneva Motor Show has a tendency to do that kind of thing... but General Motors rather quietly let loose a whole slew of sweeping changes to its North American leadership team. According to Mark Reuss, GM North America president:
It's become extremely clear to me since taking this role that there is a better way to structure this organization. The premise of the structure is simple – a clearer marketing focus to sell more vehicles, and freeing our sales and service experts to focus on customers and dealers... We've worked with a small group of executives to align this model and appoint the best candidates for each job.
Shortly after the announcement went out, Reuss held a conference call during which he admitted that GM's sales performance was not keeping up with the progress the automaker has recently made with its vehicle lineup. Hence, the leadership shakeup. The moves are way too thorough to go over here, so we suggest you click on past the break for the complete rundown straight from The General. Summing up the changes, Reuss had this to say:
This structure has been developed with as few layers as possible between me, the dealer and the customer. By removing layers and giving leaders increased accountability, we allow them to move faster and focus on what needs to be done.

[Source: General Motors | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]
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GM Announces New North American Leadership Team
  • Enhanced focus on customer and dealer support
  • GM North America business unit strengthened
  • Separate organizations created for sales and marketing

DETROIT – General Motors today announced a restructured North American organization with a number of key leadership changes.

Intense Focus on the Customer

GM North America is focused on strengthening consideration for the company's brands and products, shifting from a combined sales and marketing organization to one that enables the company to engage experts in each respective role. With a flatter structure, accountability is elevated to the highest level.

"It's become extremely clear to me since taking this role that there is a better way to structure this organization," said Mark Reuss, GM North America president. "The premise of the structure is simple -- a clearer marketing focus to sell more vehicles, and freeing our sales and service experts to focus on customers and dealers.

"In order to be successful in North America, we need the right mix of product, people and structure," Reuss continued, "We've worked with a small group of executives to align this model and appoint the best candidates for each job."

All appointments are effective immediately.

Marketing Organization

As the single point for marketing, Susan Docherty is appointed vice president, U.S. marketing, reporting to Reuss. Senior executives reporting to Docherty, responsible for the marketing of their respective brands include:

* Jim Campbell, U.S. marketing vice president, Chevrolet;
* Don Butler, U.S. marketing vice president, Cadillac. Butler rejoins the company from INRIX; and,
* John Schwegman, U.S. marketing vice president, Buick-GMC. Schwegman was most recently Chevrolet product marketing director.

Sales Organization

Reinforcing the company's intense focus on the customer, sales leaders for the brands also reporting directly to Reuss include:

* Alan Batey, vice president, sales and service, Chevrolet. Batey was most recently president and managing director of GM's Holden operations in Australia. A replacement for Batey will be named at a later date;
* Brian Sweeney remains with the Buick-GMC as U.S. sales and service vice president;
* Kurt McNeil, U.S. sales and service vice president, Cadillac. McNeil was previously general sales manager, Chevrolet.

A leader in design, Bryan Nesbitt is leaving Cadillac and returning to his home organization as executive director, advanced concept group, reporting to Ed Welburn, vice president, global design.

Reporting to Reuss, Steve Carlisle is appointed vice president, U.S. sales operations, responsible for dealer network, retail sales support and fleet & commercial. Carlisle was most recently executive director, GM South East Asia Operations, and president, managing director, GM Thailand. Carlisle will be replaced by Martin Apfel, who will report to Tim Lee, president of GM International Operations. Apfel was most recently executive director of global manufacturing and planning. Senior executives reporting to Carlisle, responsible for their respective functions include:

* Jim Bunnell, general director, network support; and
* Brian Small, general manager, fleet & commercial;
* A general manager, retail sales support will be named at a later date.

"This structure has been developed with as few layers as possible between me, the dealer and the customer," said Reuss. "By removing layers and giving leaders increased accountability, we allow them to move faster and focus on what needs to be done."

Other Key North American Organizations

In addition to direct lines for marketing and sales, the following key North American organizations will report directly to Reuss.

New appointments include:

* Chris Preuss, vice president and president, OnStar. Preuss was most recently vice president, Communications, reporting to Ed Whitacre. Preuss succeeds Walt Dorfstatter, who will assume an executive director role in global product operations. A replacement for Preuss will be named at a later date;
* Kevin Williams, president and managing director, GM Canada. Most recently, Williams was responsible for leading service & parts operations (SPO). He succeeds Arturo Elias, who will take a position in the company's public policy center, reporting to John Montford, senior advisor, public policy;
* Steve Hill, general manager, GM customer care and aftersales. Most recently Hill was general manager, retail sales support.

The following executives continue in their current positions:

* Grace Lieblein, president and managing director, GM de Mexico;
* Diana Tremblay, vice president, manufacturing and labor relations; and
* Chuck Stevens, chief financial officer for North America.

Mary Sipes returns to portfolio planning as executive director, North American product planning, a key interface to the global engineering and product development organizations. In this position, she reports to Jon Lauckner, vice president global product planning. Sipes was previously executive director, corporate planning.

The North American team is also supported with executives from key functions including human resources, legal, information technology, and communications.

"This is my team. Leaders with exceptional talent from around the world, combined with strategic thinking from outside. They are the right team for GM North America now, hand-picked and put in place to win," concluded Reuss.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its important to note that as the title says, this is only the NA subdivision. They just handle marketing, sales, and distribution type stuff to NA -- they don't have much influence over product development. This might mean a better sales experience perhaps, maybe better ads, but not the kind of stuff enthusiasts care about.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They could use some better ads, and quickly. And the first lesson begins now: quit badge-engineering the advertising! Just like the cars themselves, the brands and the efforts to sell and support them should have their own distinctive look and feel. Whoever thought that attempting to sell multiple brands with the same ads was a good idea should be drawn and quartered. They need to dump the "may the best car win" crap- it stinks of the same cost-cutting that used to define their cars' interiors. A Cadillac customer is going to be someone who is successful and enjoys the finer things in life- they don't want to be reminded of the days when they drove a Chevy. I honestly cannot remember the last memorable GM ad campaign, which is a shame.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's cool. But: ..."was not keeping up with the progress the automaker has recently made with its vehicle lineup" - what progress you're referring to Mr. Reuss if I may ask? I have credit card points worth over $2500 towards purchase of a GM car that I was saving up for G8 and now they expire every month because there is nothing for me to buy and there seems to be nothing on the horizon.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Lemon: Yeah, like that will ever happen. Buick will most likely stay with the plain vanilla version Regal instead of what could be the return of the GNX. Why? My guess is it would cut into Cadillac sales too heavily. Again, the problem with GM is simply too much brand overlap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sounds like you want an "affordable" sport-sedan. Well, I agree with you that GM just doesn't have one. The G8 was the only GM car that I would categorize as a true affordable sport-sedan. It's a shame when you think about it. There's always Ford and Chrysler!
        • 5 Years Ago
        What, recently?

        Chevy Traverse
        New Chevy Equinox
        New Buick Lacrosse
        New Cadillac SRX
        Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
        GMC Terrain

        Cadillac CTS Coupe
        Buick Regal

        A bit after that:
        Chevy Cruze
        Chevy Volt

        Next year:
        Chevy Aveo

        And I didn't even reach back to the Pontiac G8, Solstice Coupe or Saturn VUE.

        What exactly were you waiting for? I guess there's no new Chevy family sedans or Buick SUVs, but otherwise if you didn't find what you liked (including the G8) I'm not sure you're going to find it soon either, at least from GM.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you read it in reverse it would be admitting that as of yesterday GM had too many layers of management between the Dealer/Customer and the top and nobody was held accountable. Seems like a pretty good description of what has been the problem at GM for 30 years.

      Doubtful though that a few people changing offices and nobody leaving the company amounted to any real concrete change though. Real change never comes without pain.

      The new GM has some hits with the Traverse and Lacrosse but they still seem to lack focus and are anything but streamlined. You don't get the same sense of a plan in motion that Hyundai, Ford and even Chrysler/Fiat are showing. GM needs a strong leader from outside to step in and whip these dogs into shape. First thing I would do is muzzle CLutz and the other clowns speaking out of turn that are only increasing the perception that GM doesn't have any real plan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Giant fist stopped to soon...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This sort of thing is inside baseball. Back when I was in corporate America, our company had large reshufflings of the executive ranks every year or so. It was all announced with breathless press releases and we all had very serious, last-minute, all-hands meetings to discuss the reorg. And none of it actually changed what happened in your cube.

      This type of Kremlinology is always very interesting to watch and speculate, but really doesn't have much impact on the factory floor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM said they needed to close dealers to be profitable. As soon as arbitration is over, new dealers will reopen around 90% of those closed stores. It was all a big lie.

      Closing dealerships that had been in business for 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 plus years was stupid.

      GM......Goofy Management!!!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great guys. Please get onto the actually hay-making now?

      For those who don't know, the biggest remnant of GM being 8 different companies (by brand) was the marketing groups of each brand being separated. This my seem small, but it actually does a lot to really align GM as one company instead of 4. It could make a difference.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My vote for GM leadership is Jim the troll and SeaUrchin.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My first knee-jerk thought was, so what else is new? GM's making a shift in management. This is really SOP for GM for decades. But, then I read the rest of Marks comments, and I gotta say it struck me that this guy just might have a clue. Time will tell.
      The biggest problem with GM management (besides it being too bloated), is that they are impatient. They make some changes, and then only wait a short time for results. In other words, they are generally short-sighted.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a move to bring in "their people". Truss was at Holden, so he brings a few of his people from operations in Australia an Thailand. Whitaker puts his communications guy at OnStar and sends the design guy back to the studio. Are these people more talented, or just more loyal?
      • 5 Years Ago
      If only I ran GM.....

      -let the comments and bashing unfold....
        • 5 Years Ago
        If I ran GM, i'd agree to work for 300K/year starting, with access to, and privilege to hoon whatever GM vehicle I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.

        And things would get done, dangit!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Two observations:

      First, it appears that GM not gaining the kind of ground that Ford gained on Toyota is driving the shakeup. However, Ford make some very large fleet sales in February, while GM's fleet sales were typical for February. In addition, there are people who are rewarding Ford for not taking government help by buying Fords. You have to assume that over time, people will forget about the government bail out as GM comes out with new models.

      Second, GM blew it on how many cars it and the industry as a whole would sell. From an article in the WSJ, it sounds as if dealers are screaming for more of the hot models.

      Just this past Sunday, I was looking at dealer lots in suburban Chicago (dealers are closed on Sunday, so no salemen chasing people). A Buick-GMC dealer had maybe 1/3 of the normal inventory on the lot, with only 6 LaCrosses and 2 Terrains. There were also very few Enclaves adn Acadias.

      At a Chevy dealer, there were plenty of Impalas, but far fewer Malibus. The Equinoxes were even fewer, six if I recall correctly, with no cars equiped with the V-6 and leather interior. There was only 1 Camero on the lot.

      Granted, the industry isn't going to sell 15 million units for several more years, and GM shouldn't be building so many cars that it has to have several thousand dollars of rebates on every vehicle. Yet, dealers should have enough cars so that if a person wants a specific color or option package, there is at least such vehicle on the lot.
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