GM makes more leadership moves to streamline marketing

DETROIT -- General Motors is moving four of its five regional general managers to its headquarters here and eliminating those positions.

GM also has added a general sales manager to its channels. The moves are part of an effort to better manage its eight brands and eliminate a layer of bureaucracy.

GM has organized its brands into four channels: Chevrolet, Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Cadillac-Hummer-Saab and Saturn. Now it has changed the job responsibilities and titles of several of its channel leaders.

Effective July 1, GM will make the following changes to its field operations:

• Steve Hill, 47, will return to Detroit to become general sales manager for the premium channel. Hill now is general manager for the North Central region. He will report to Mark McNabb, 47, vice president of the premium channel.

• Kurt McNeil44, will join the Detroit team to become Chevrolet general sales manager. He is general manager of the South Central region.

• Brian Sweeney, 40, will become Buick-Pontiac-GMC general sales manager. He is general director of Buick-Pontiac-GMC retail development.

• At Saturn, Sterling Wesley, 54, will become general sales manager. He is executive director of Motors Holding Division.

• Dave Borchelt, 61, will retire. He is regional general manager of the Southeast.

• Scott Mackie, 47, is on special assignment and will get a permanent assignment soon. He is regional general manager of the Northeast.

Susan Docherty, GM’s West Coast general manager, was named vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC this year.

Focus on the brands

These leadership changes follow moves this year when GM named Docherty head of Buick-Pontiac-GMC and hired McNabb from Nissan Motor Co. to run the premium channel.

By eliminating a layer of management at the regional level, there should be more focus by brand leaders on developing that channel, says Mark LaNeve, 49, vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing.

“The dealers don’t have a regional manager in their region now; they have a general sales manager here in Detroit,” LaNeve told Automotive News. “The way it was, the general manager in the region worked on all eight brands in the region. Now the sales manager in Detroit is only worried about the one channel. They’re not on the ground in the region, but they are concerned with the brand that’s on the sign out front.”

The new management structure is intended to push a lot of the “critical decision making on product, advertising, incentives and dealer programs,” along quicker for better execution, LaNeve says.

The dealers’ primary contact will continue to be with their regional team, LaNeve says.

Other changes

LaNeve says he’s also made some other personnel changes to the channels. At Chevrolet, he named Kim Kosak, 41, as general director of advertising and promotions. She had been Chevrolet advertising manager.

Cheryl Catton, 52, leaves Chevrolet, where she was general director of car marketing, to join Buick-Pontiac-GMC as general director of advertising and promotions. Advertising directors at Buick-Pontiac-GMC will report to her.

Also at Chevrolet, Rick Scheidt, 54, will become executive director of product marketing. He had been executive director of Chevrolet product development. “He retains a lot of former duties but picks up executing the voice of the consumer,” LaNeve says.

At Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Russ Clark, 54, becomes executive director of product marketing. He had been executive director of product development there.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com

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