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GM’s pension plan executive to leave automaker

March 30, 2010

GM’s pension plan executive to leave automaker

The Detroit News

The executive in charge of managing pension plan assets for General Motors Co. is leaving the company, the automaker announced Monday. It’s one of a series of management changes ahead of a possible initial public offering of company stock.

Nancy Everett, chief executive officer of Promark Global Advisors since 2006, will leave June 1. She oversaw the asset management subsidiary of GM that was responsible for retirement plan assets, including pension plans.

She will be replaced by GM Treasurer Walter Borst, who was instrumental in GM’s restructuring and emergence from bankruptcy court last summer.

Borst, in turn, will be succeeded by Daniel Ammann, 37, who was managing director and head of Industrials Investment Banking for Morgan Stanley and led the company’s banking team that advised GM’s court-ordered restructuring and asset sale. Ammann, who will lead GM’s New York-based treasurer’s office, also will serve as vice president of finance.

The moves are the latest in a string of management changes at GM since the company emerged from bankruptcy.

Since succeeding Fritz Henderson as chief executive in December, Chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. has overseen a reshuffling of sales and marketing and finance operations, but has not drastically altered product development and manufacturing, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

"He’s been smart enough to stay away from the real guts of the company," Cole said.

Chief Financial Officer Ray Young, whose department drew intense criticism from the White House last year, was reassigned in December and named vice president of international operations. He was replaced by software giant Microsoft Corp.’s Chris Liddell, who announced Monday’s changes.

Liddell’s team is in the midst of valuing GM’s assets and liabilities and ensuring the automaker conforms with generally accepted accounting principles. The team also is preparing GM for an initial public offering of company stock, which could come later this year.

"Dan brings a broad base of financial experience to this position," Liddell said. "It is a critical time in this company’s history and Dan’s depth of knowledge of the financial community and our business will be invaluable."

Also Monday, GM said it will not meet a Wednesday deadline for filing its year-end financial report for 2009, the automaker is still determining the fair value of its assets and liabilities acquired before emerging from bankruptcy court last summer.

GM needs additional time to finalize that process and conform with generally accepted accounting principles related to the company’s assets and liabilities, the automaker said in a regulatory filing Monday.

"Due to the size of the company, the global application of fresh-start reporting and the associated determination of the fair value of its assets and liabilities is a significant undertaking, which requires extra time," GM wrote in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

GM will file the report within the 15-day extension period, spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem said.

The annual report will provide a detailed financial roadmap of GM’s first few months since the company’s inception last summer.

"It’s very revealing in terms of financial results. It shows everything: revenue, expenses, obligations, capitalization of the company and cash," said Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group Inc. in Ann Arbor.

Liddell said this month GM has a reasonable chance of being profitable in 2010, and might start selling shares in the company to the public this year.

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