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5 Directors Added to New G.M. Board

July 23, 2009, 8:13 pm

5 Directors Added to New G.M. Board


General Motors filled out its new board on Thursday and announced a wave of management changes, including the retirements of several longtime executives and the elimination of some vice president jobs, Nick Bunkley of The New York Times reported.

The Treasury Department named four more directors to represent its 60 percent stake in the automaker. They are Daniel F. Akerson, managing director of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group; David Bonderman, a founding partner of TPG Capital; Robert D. Krebs, retired chairman and chief executive of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad; and Patricia F. Russo, former chief executive of the telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent. The Treasury has appointed a total of 10 members to the new G.M. board.

Carol Stephenson, dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, will represent the Canadian government, which owns 11.7 percent.

They will join eight others on the board, including the recently appointed chairman, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., and G.M.’s chief executive, Fritz Henderson. Each member who is not a G.M. employee will be paid a cash retainer of $200,000 a year. Mr. Whitacre will be paid at least $350,000.

Several of the new directors, including Mr. Whitacre, the former chairman of AT&T, have experience in the telecommunications industry but none have automotive backgrounds. The Obama administration wanted nearly a clean slate of directors to ensure that the company would move away from practices that led to its downfall and last month’s bankruptcy filing.

“The members of this new board of directors bring immense experience and diverse perspectives to the table, and that’s exactly what G.M. needs,” Mr. Whitacre said in a statement. “The collective expertise of the new B.O.D. is vital at this time as G.M. seeks to redefine itself as the vehicle design and customer care leader of the extremely competitive auto business.”

The Treasury, in a statement, said it was “grateful to Chairman Ed Whitacre and all these exceptionally distinguished individuals for being willing to serve this great American company at a critical juncture. We are confident that, under their guidance, G.M. can achieve great success in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, G.M. said five top executives would retire, including the president of its North American operations, Troy Clarke. This month, Mr. Henderson assumed the responsibilities of Mr. Clarke, 54, who has been at G.M. for 36 years and was widely believed to be on his way to one of the company’s top jobs.

Also retiring by year’s end will be Gary Cowger, the group vice president for global manufacturing and labor relations; Ralph Szygenda, the chief information officer; Maureen Kempston Darkes, group vice president for Latin America, Africa and the Middle East; and Michael Grimaldi, a vice president and chief executive of G.M. Daewoo in South Korea.

Mark LaNeve, a G.M. North American vice president whose future at G.M. seemed in doubt after his marketing duties were reassigned this month to Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz, will remain at G.M. as vice president of United States sales.

Other changes involve separating some sales and marketing jobs and changing vice president positions to nonexecutive managerial roles.

Bryan Nesbitt, G.M.’s vice president for design in North America, will be general manager of the Cadillac brand, and Ed Peper, who has been the head of Chevrolet, will be Cadillac’s general sales manager.

Go to Article from The New York Times »

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