GM shuffles product planning, development execs in latest shakeup


GM shuffles product planning, development execs in latest shakeup

Automotive News | June 4, 2010 – 5:01 pm EST

UPDATED: 6/4/10 10:50 p.m. ET

DETROIT — General Motors Co. has reassigned dozens of product development executives and appointed new heads of global product planning, powertrain engineering and quality in its latest departmental shakeup.

Responsibility for global product planning moves to CEO Ed Whitacre from Vice Chairman Tom Stephens. Stephens retains control of product development, including design, engineering and purchasing.

GM announced the changes today in a memo to employees obtained by Automotive News. Spokeswomen Sharon Basel and Katie McBride verified the memo’s authenticity and said the moves didn’t involve any employees leaving the company. The shakeup follows major changes in sales and marketing in recent months.

As part of today’s changes, Steve Carlisle has become vice president of global product planning, reporting to Whitacre. Carlisle, who has previous experience in GM product planning outside the United States and in GM’s truck group, had been vice president of U.S. sales operations since March.

He replaces Jon Lauckner, who had led product planning since August. GM said earlier today that Lauckner would head its new venture capital unit, reporting to Vice Chairman Steve Girsky.

Carlisle’s role in sales has gone to Don Johnson, who will report to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.

Dan Hancock, GM’s vice president of global powertrain engineering since 2005, has moved into the newly created position of vice president of global strategic product alliances. He will focus on joint ventures and report to Stephens, who heads global product operations.

Jamie Hresko has replaced Hancock and will report to Stephens. Hresko, an electrical engineer by training, had been vice president of global quality since September 2008 and held a variety of manufacturing positions before that.

Dan Nicholson, formerly executive director of electronic integration and software, has replaced Hresko. He will report to Stephens.

Kent Helfrich has taken over Nicholson’s job.

The shakeup follows a restructuring in March involving more than a dozen GM sales and marketing executives. Last month, GM continued those changes by snagging Hyundai’s Joel Ewanick from his weeks-long stint at Nissan North America and putting him in charge of U.S. marketing.

His predecessor, Susan Docherty, is transferring to GM’s Shanghai office to head sales and marketing for GM’s operations outside the United States and Europe.

In the memo describing this week’s personnel changes, Stephens said GM is also seeking to simplify its product-development process. So GM is reducing the number of reviews each vehicle gets by GM’s Global Product Development Council, which includes Stephens, his direct reports and top executives from the global region that will get the vehicle.

That committee will now only review each product four times during its development. That’s “about a third” fewer times than before, spokeswoman McBride said. The intention is to hold lower-tier executives accountable for decision-making, she said.

Additional changes that are part of today’s internal announcement are:

Vehicle engineering

• John Calabrese, to executive director of body, exterior, interior, safety and HVAC. Changes under him include:

1. Jim Hentschel, to executive director of body, exterior and dimensional engineering;

2. Jeff Boyer, to executive director of interior and safety;

3. Ray Bierzynski, to executive director of HVAC / powertrain cooling.

• Micky Bly adds responsibility for infotainment and OnStar engineering to his role as executive director for electrical systems, hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries. Changes under him are:

1. Tim Nixon, to executive director of infotainment and OnStar engineering; and

2. Kristen Siemen, to executive director for electrical systems.

• Ken Kelzer adds responsibility for induction controls and exhaust and the Canadian engineering center to his role as executive director of chassis.

Global vehicle programs

• Jeff Luke, to group vehicle line executive and chief engineer for global trucks, vans and crossovers.

One change under him: Jully Burau becomes global chief engineer for full-sized trucks.

• Jim Federico, to group vehicle line executive and chief engineer for global compact, small, mini and electric vehicles. He had served as global vehicle line executive and chief engineer for full- and mid-sized cars.

• Randy Schwarz, to group vehicle line executive and chief engineer for global full-, mid-sized and rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Changes under him are:

1. Jim Dolot, to global vehicle line executive for full- and midsized cars;

2. Mark Moussa, to global chief engineer for full- and midsized cars; and

3. Bill Shaw, to global vehicle line executive for rear-wheel-drive and performance cars.

Global powertrain engineering

• Dean Guard, to executive direction of program execution for engines.

• Jeff Baran, to executive director of program execution for transmissions.

• Chris Meagher, to executive director of the Global Transmission Hardware Resource Center and Technical Resource Center.

Global purchasing and supply chain

• Kim Brycz, to executive director of group electrical.

• Randy Pappal, to executive director of group exterior, interior, safety, HVAC and Mexico.

• Tom McMillen, to executive director of supplier quality (effective Sept. 1).

• Susanna Webber, to vice president GM Europe for global purchasing and supply chain (effective Sept. 1).

• Dale Kitchen, to executive director of global logistics and containers (effective Sept. 1).

Global research and development

• Gary Smyth, to executive director of North America science laboratories.

Stephens said in the internal memo GM would announce other “organizational changes” resulting from the shakeup at a later date.

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