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GM strips Cadillac of top managers in overhaul

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GM strips Cadillac of top managers in overhaul

Jamie LaReau

Automotive News -- March 4, 2010 - 4:26 pm ET

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. terminated three Cadillac marketing executives and demoted the brand's former sales manager Ed Peper as part of this week's management overhaul.

Steve Shannon, Jay Spenchian and John Howell were dismissed Monday, said eight sources familiar with the moves.

The departures show GM's upheaval ran deeper than the 18 changes cited in the company's press release Tuesday. One of the biggest moves shifted responsibility for U.S. sales to North American President Mark Reuss from Susan Docherty, who remains U.S. marketing chief.

Reuss said he made the changes to flatten GM's North American organization, which he said was not moving fast enough to boost sales.

Cadillac's 32 percent sales decline in the United States last year was the steepest of any surviving GM brand. Through February, Cadillac's 14 percent increase in 2010 sales lags the gains of Buick, GMC and Chevrolet.

On Tuesday, GM also moved Bryan Nesbitt back to design after seven months as Cadillac's chief. Instead of one boss, each of GM's surviving U.S. brands -- Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick-GMC -- now has one leader for sales and service and another for marketing.

In addition, Peper, Cadillac's general sales manager since July, has been given a new title within the brand, the sources said. His new position wasn't immediately clear.

Peper will report to Kurt McNeil, named Tuesday as Cadillac's head of sales and service, two of the sources said. Before joining Cadillac, Peper was general manager of Chevrolet since March 2005.

GM declined to comment.

Shannon, one of the three Cadillac managers dismissed Monday, was executive director of marketing.

Chevrolet's general director of advertising, Kim Kosak, will replace Shannon but may have a different title, three of the sources said. She now will report to Don Butler, who picked up responsibility for Cadillac marketing Tuesday. He rejoins GM from Inrix, a telematics company.

Shannon had worked for GM since 1982. In 2007, he was tapped to run Saab. In October 2008, Shannon became executive director of product and marketing for the "premium" Cadillac, Saab and Hummer lines. He was named Cadillac's executive director of marketing about two months later.

Spenchian, 51, was executive director of the marketing strategy support group. Howell was Cadillac's product director.

Shannon, Howell and Spenchian were part of the team that picked Publicis Groupe-backed BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty) in January as its new ad agency. The brand had been looking for a new shop since last fall. Incumbent agency Modernista opted not to defend the account.

Chrissie Thompson contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100304/OEM02/100309923/1179#ixzz0hFZy19Jm

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EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Ed Peper, Cadillac's general sales manager, was demoted. Peper will likely get a new title while performing similar duties, GM says.

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I have never understood nor read any insight into why GM (and it's not just GM) executives jump around like Mexican Jumping beans. 3 years is a relative eternity in one GM position, and it HAS to be detrimental to some degree.

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Many just want out. Many other come in but are forced out due to those above moving in their own people. It is GM physics. For every action there is a equal and opposite buy out.

I think once they settle on who is to remain at the top things will settle down a lot. Just so many changes created even more changes have made this a rocky ride the last couple years. Once the top managment is rock solid in place they should be settled on their staffs.

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>>"Many just want out. Many other come in but...."<<

'Getting out', as in leaving GM due to politics, other interests, etc, makes sense on many levels. My question is in regard to moving around within GM. Too often, a successful manager is plucked from one job and shoehorned into another. DeLorean is a fair example: PMD GM in '65, over @ Chevy in '69. Why the hell would he want to go to Chevy vs. Pontiac ??

Edited by balthazar
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>>"Many just want out. Many other come in but...."<<

'Getting out', as in leaving GM due to politics, other interests, etc, makes sense on many levels. My question is in regard to moving around within GM. Too often, a successful manager is plucked from one job and shoehorned into another. DeLorean is a fair example: PMD GM in '65, over @ Chevy in '69. Why the hell would he want to go to Chevy vs. Pontiac ??

Career wise, it was probably a good move..the opportunity to be head of the biggest and most visible division within the company would outweigh being at a smaller division, I would think.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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