Bloomberg's reporting this morning new GM interim CEO Ed Whitacre's making big changes fast, drawing up a new management blueprint in "four hours" that ousts Bob Lutz from the role of "Maximum Marketer." UPDATE: Changes below!
The Journal says:
"Mr. Whitacre drew up the new management blueprint in a matter of four hours, this person said. The plan, under which there are expected to be no major firings immediately, is a reflection of Mr. Whitacre's desire that younger and stronger leaders take on more prominent roles at the 101-year-old auto maker."
So what happens to Lutz? The WSJ continues:
"Mr. Lutz, currently running the company's marketing efforts, will return to a role more closely involved with designing and dreaming up new products, this person said. "Bob is still very much on the team, and still plays a very important role…but not doing the marketing stuff," this person said."
Hmm, don't get us wrong, as we happen to think that's a good place for him. But it means that if Whitacre actually wants to keep the maximum car man he'll need to make sure this was something Lutz actually wants. Also, younger and stronger? Who does he have in mind to replace him? Susan Docherty? Brian Nesbitt? Someone from outside the company?
Lastly, while Whitacre's moves are definitely faster moving than GM's ever been — we still stick by our believe the position that really needs someone younger and stronger is the position of CEO.
UPDATE: Mark Reuss, son of former GM President Lloyd Reuss to take over at President of GM North America. GM Board member Stephen J. Girsky will become a special advisor to Ed Whitacre. Communications VP Chris Preuss will see him and his team pulled out from marketing and moved up to report directly to Whitacre. Susan Docherty gets marketing added to her portfolio. Finally, Lutz goes back to product planning and becomes a special advisor to the CEO.
UPDATE 2: Full press release:
GM Announces Leadership Changes
DETROIT – To improve accountability and responsibility for market performance in North America and around the world, several key leadership changes were announced today by GM Chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre.
"I want to give people more responsibility and authority deeper in the organization and then hold them accountable," Whitacre said. "We've realigned our leadership duties and responsibilities to help us meet our mission to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles."
Mark Reuss is named president of GM North America. Reuss was briefly vice president of Engineering after leading GM's Holden operations in Australia in 2008. Reporting to Reuss will be Susan E. Docherty, who is appointed vice president, Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing operations. Also aligned under the new North American group will be Diana D. Tremblay, who is named vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Relations. Tremblay was most recently vice president of Labor Relations. Denise C. Johnson is named vice president, Labor Relations. Johnson was most recently vehicle line director and chief engineer for Global Small Cars.
Nick Reilly is named president, GM Europe. Reilly has been leading the restructuring efforts in Europe with the Opel/Vauxhall operations and will leave his role leading GM International Operations.
Tim Lee is named president of GM International Operations, overseeing GM's Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East operations. Lee was most recently group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Relations.
Bob Lutz remains vice chairman and will act as advisor on design and global product development.
Thomas G. Stephens remains vice chairman of Global Product Operations, and will now take on global purchasing in his organization, which will continue to be lead by Robert E. Socia, vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. Karl-Friedrich Stracke is appointed vice president, Engineering, reporting to Stephens. Stracke was most recently executive director of Engineering.
J. Christopher Preuss, vice president, Communications, will now report to Whitacre; he previously reported to Lutz.
The balance of the direct report staff remains unchanged and includes CFO Ray G. Young; John F. Smith, vice president Corporate Planning and Alliances; Terry Kline, vice president IS&S; Mary T. Barra, vice president Human Resources; Mike Millikin, vice president of Legal; and Ken C. Cole, vice president Government Relations and Public Policy.
Biographical information on all GM's corporate officers can be found at www.gm.com/corporate/about/officers.jsp?evar10=gm_investor_corporategov_officers#.
Photo Credit: David McNew / Getty Images News