Yesterday, General Motors announced major changes to its senior management team. Dan Akerson, who has served as chairman and CEO since 2009 and who helped steer the company back to solid profitability, announced he will step down on January 15, 2014.
Replacing him as CEO will be Mary Barra, who currently serves as executive vice-president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. In a message addressed to GM employees, Akerson said “I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry.”
Barra, an engineer and GM veteran with 33 years of experience, has been a rising star within the company, holding progressively senior manufacturing positions. She is seen as revitalizing GM’s product development, resulting in a slew of well-received new models and higher quality and customer satisfaction rankings.
“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM,” said Barra. “I’m honoured to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”
Stepping into Barra’s shoes will be Mark Reuss, who currently serves as executive vice-president and president of North American operations. During his tenure, the automaker’s North American arm has seen a product renaissance, fueled by dramatic new vehicles such as the 2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and 2014 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra pickups.
“The driver’s seat of designing and engineering the strongest product line up in GM’s history is the best seat to have,” said Reuss. “We’re going to keep the pedal down on GM’s product resurgence and keep winning new customers.”
Other changes will see Dan Amman, GM’s chief financial officer, assume the role of president and Alan Batey as the new executive vice-president and president, North American Operations.
Under Amman’s watch, GM launched its first Initial Public Offering following restructuring in November 2010. Amman also led captive financing rebuilding efforts, resulting in the creation of GM Financial. “We have a significant opportunity to further integrate and optimize our operations to deliver even better results,” said Ammann. “While we have made good progress, we still have much work ahead of us to realize GM’s full potential.”
Alan Batey, who joined GM’s British operations in 1979 and has held several sales, service and marketing positions around the world, recently oversaw a sweeping upgrade of retail sales and service operations at hundreds of U.S. dealerships.
“North America is the foundation of the GM turnaround story and I’m honoured to help continue what Mark started,” said Batey. “We remain committed to delivering the world’s best retail experience to match the world’s best cars and trucks.”
Other shuffles, will see Theodore “Tim” Solso, succeed Akerson as Chairman, while Steve Girsky, vice-chairman, Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Global Product Planning, will move to a senior advisor role until leaving the company in April 2014. Girsky will remain on the GM Board of Directors.
Girsky led GM’s turnaround plan for Europe that has put that region’s operations back on a path to profitability. He has also put GM’s OnStar unit at the forefront of in-vehicle connectivity and helped create GM Ventures to speed the commercialization of new technologies in GM vehicles.
“I share Dan’s pride for what the company has accomplished and his sense of optimism for a bright future,” said Girsky. “This team is united in its commitment to building on the foundation that we have established.”