Now the former chairman and managing director of GM's Vauxhall unit in England has a new role. On August 1, he took over as vice president of sales, marketing and aftermarket sales for GM Europe. He replaced Jeffrey Hurlbert, a former Chevrolet general marketing manager who will retire next year.
Reilly took on plenty of challenges in five years at Vauxhall. Among other things, he had to persuade the work force at Luton, England, to improve productivity in order to keep the plant open. He showed solidarity with employees by giving up his salary for a year. But his popularity plunged last year when GM Europe decided to close the Luton plant.
'I honestly thought we had done enough to save Luton,' Reilly says. 'But ultimately GM's overcapacity problems in Europe had to be solved. Luton was the unlucky one.'
Reilly worked hard to preserve as many jobs as possible. 'There have been very few people who have gone when they did not want to,' he says. 'We have been able to relocate a lot of people.'
Life as Vauxhall chief has entailed some successes. Highlights include a $450 million investment at Ellesmere Port, plus a deal with Renault to produce a new medium van at IBC Vehicles. That resulted in a $200 million investment at the plant next to the Vauxhall Luton factory, plus $150 million invested at IBC for the new Frontera.
Reilly is a deep thinker. Once, he retreated to a mountain in Wales for a month to 'sort out my life.' Married with three children, Reilly is taking his latest move in stride: 'I seem to have been moving around for 20 years now.'