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GM’s Buick-GMC Chief Said to Leave Eight Days After Being Hired


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Dewar out at Chevrolet & Richards out at Buick - GMC


GM’s Buick-GMC Chief Said to Leave Eight Days After Being Hired

By Katie Merx

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.’s chief of the Buick and GMC brands is leaving eight days after joining the biggest U.S. automaker, two people familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Michael D. Richards, formerly of Ford Motor Co., was hired Dec. 1, the same day that Fritz Henderson was ousted as chief executive officer and replaced by Chairman Ed Whitacre. No replacement for Richards has been named, said the people, who asked not to be identified, because the move isn’t public yet.

Richards’s departure means Whitacre, 68, will be able to deepen his imprint on senior management. The former AT&T Inc. chairman and CEO, who was appointed to the board in June, chose new leaders for GM’s North American and European operations among other positions on Dec. 4. He told reporters Dec. 8 that newly promoted executives didn’t have long to show results.

“What they’re doing is getting away from the entrenched old-think GM, and get to the free thinkers,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific Inc., an industry consultant in Tustin, California. “It seems like they’re headed in the right direction of getting leaner and meaner.”

Dayna Hart, a spokeswoman for Detroit-based GM, declined to comment on Richards.

He had been hired to replace Susan Docherty, who was promoted earlier to head of sales and on Dec. 4 became vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing. Richards worked most recently at Austin, Texas-based software maker Trilogy Inc. and wasn’t available to comment.

Other Changes

Earlier, GM announced the retirement of Brent Dewar, 54, the head of Chevrolet, GM’s top-selling brand.

James M. Campbell, 45, the former head of fleet and commercial operations, will replace Dewar as general manager of the global Chevrolet brand.

Dewar said in an e-mail that his decision was in part to spend more time with his daughter. Dewar joined General Motors of Canada in 1978, according to his company biography.

Whitacre, chosen to lead GM’s board by President Barack Obama’s automotive task force, told employees last week that the CEO search may take as long as a year and that he wouldn’t waste any time.

He told reporters this week that he may name a replacement for Chief Financial Officer Ray Young in two or three weeks. “We’re close and have narrowed it down and have a real good candidate,” Whitacre said in a Web chat.



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Buick GMC general manager quits after nine days

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

Detroit -- General Motors Co. today confirmed Buick GMC General Manager Michael Richards has quit after nine days on the job.

"We wish him the best," said Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of sales, service and marketing, who did not name a replacement.

The confirmation comes less than 24 hours after the surprise retirement of Chevrolet Vice President Brent Dewar, who had been appointed to lead the automaker's largest and most important brand five months ago.


Richards, who departed "to pursue other career opportunities," was most recently vice president of marketing and sales for the global automotive business at Trilogy, based in Austin, Texas.

Trilogy made a strong counteroffer to keep Richards, and he was said to be considering that offer in light of Friday's management shakeup engineered by Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Richards, 52, replaced Docherty, who was appointed GM vice president in charge of U.S. sales in October.

Prior to his time at Trilogy, he was a consultant to J.D. Power and Associates in Troy. In that capacity, he led the company's efforts to develop products to improve customer satisfaction, market share and profitability for newly launched vehicles. He also developed a syndicated index to measure new vehicle launch performance.

Dewar, meanwhile, is being replaced by James Campbell, 45, who ran GM's fleet and commercial operations, and will serve as Chevrolet general manager.

Dewar, 54, was appointed to the job by ousted CEO Fritz Henderson in July after serving as GM Europe's vice president, sales, marketing and aftersales.

Dewar spent 31 years at GM and was perceived to be closely aligned with Henderson, who resigned under pressure from the board of directors last week.

"He was a Fritz guy and that can put you in some element of concern," said Rebecca Lindland, IHS Global Insight director of automotive research. "The GM-lifer stamp is not a stamp of approval. These are people whose careers are measured in decades and now the results are measured in months."

The Chevrolet position is a key job because GM anticipates the brand accounting for about 70 percent of its sales.

Chevy's sales for November were 99,663, an increase of 4.8 percent from a year ago, accounting for 13.3 percent of the market. Chevrolet has arguably two of GM's most important launches next year with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car and the Cruze compact.

The Volt is expected to help change perceptions about GM while the Cruze is expected to be a high-volume, fuel-efficient vehicle that gets up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

"Jim (Campbell) has a strong track record of building relationships and partnerships with dealers and customers, and deep Chevrolet experience," Docherty said. "His energy, drive for results and willingness to take risks are great assets for leading the growing global Chevrolet brand."

Campbell joined GM in 1988 and has been involved with launches of the Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Colorado and Corvette. He also has worked in field sales, retail incentives, marketing and customer-relationship management.



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It seems anyone who's been with the company since the '70s and/or early '80s is doomed if they still work at GM. Should have taken the retirement offer before the bankrupcy broke :lol:

Big Ed is cleaning house. He is doing exactly what needed to be done. It is the pace of change that is shocking everyone. He also is taking out GM-Lifers. If you noticed one by one they have resigned or retired( translation: they got fired).

Apparently they were not getting the job done and as we all know GM was out of step with the times and buyers.

I sat down one day and asked myself how does Coca Cola stay relevant to today's consumer and yet GM is not?

There are many other products that have been around as long and still are relevant to todays buyers.

GM was not building the kinds of cars people wanted. They were building cars they felt you needed. It is about the product.

As long as people who only knew the "GM way" were in charge, how was change going to happen? The only decision Big Ed has made that scares me is Susan Docherty.

GM since like 1985 or so had finance guys running the company who lacked the leadership to run GM. They valued the dollar as opposed to the product. The product brings in the money, not cutting costs to save a dollar.

Honestly,if GM was ran correctly Saturn never would have existed, SAAB would not have been an issue,Oldsmobile and Pontiac would not be dead.

You read this board and any other board,people complained about GM management for years for decisions that seemed quite obvious. GM was upsetting loyal or old buyers more than they were getting new buyers.

The new board has made some good decisions:

Putting Mark Ruess in as president, keeping Opel, and let's hope they continue.

Let's be honest.. does Big Ed care what we think about his management decisions?

He does care what people think about the product.

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I think not too much should be read into these moves. GM management would have been part of serious restructuring had GM been acquired by some other company so the current situation is none different. Post-bankruptcy the current board took enough time to understand what was going on before deciding who to let go and not. If pencil-pushers, negative-nannies, bean-counters, etc. are getting eradicated then it is well and good.

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