When word got out that Mark LaNeve (right) was leaving General Motors effective October 15, we weren't at all sure where the soon-to-be-former exec was heading. The Wall Street Journal has finally let the cat out of the bag, reporting that LaNeve is leaving the auto business for a marketing gig at Allstate. LaNeve will sign on as the overseer of all marketing initiatives including brand stewardship, strategy and advertising, reporting only to CEO Thomas Wilson.
At a GM function Autoblog attended Wednesday night, Mark LaNeve, in his remarks to the assembled media, mentioned the Astra by name when responding to a question about Saturn. That was the first time we'd heard anyone from GM refer to the forthcoming Ion replacement by its Opel moniker in a Saturn context, and given LaNeve's stature, we took notice. We caught up with him later on and asked if "Saturn Astra" was indeed the official name, and he responded that it was being "heavily considered."