Many GM alums went on to glory
Some of those who left, like J. Ignacio Lopez, found that life after GM was filled with problems. Others, like Walter Chrysler, went on to automotive glory.
Still others — like actor Ed Asner, once an hourly worker in GM's Kansas City, Kan., assembly plant — made their marks in unrelated fields.
Here are some notable GM alumni from the first 100 years.David Buick
Left Buick in 1909 after a stint as president, citing ill health.
Established Buick Oil Co. in 1910.
Known for founding Buick Motor Co. in 1904.
Sold his share of the company bearing his name in 1914, soon before Billy Durant folded it into GM.
Joined with brother Gaston in 1916 to found Frontenac Motor Corp. to manufacture race cars.
During the Depression, employed as a line mechanic in a Chevrolet factory.
Known for co-founding Chevrolet Motor Car Co. with Durant.
Left GM in 1916 as president.
Assumed ownership of Thomas B.
Jeffrey Co. in 1916.
Known for creating Nash Motors in 1918.
Left (with son Wilfred) in 1917 as Cadillac's president and general manager.
Founded Lincoln Motor Co. to manufacture aircraft engines, then automobiles.
Sold Lincoln to Ford Motor Co. in 1922.
Known for creating two American luxury brands.
Left in 1920 as manufacturing vice president and Buick general manager.
Joined Willys-Overland in 1920 as executive vice president.
Known for 1925 expansion of Maxwell Motor Car Co. into Chrysler Corp.
Left in 1926 as general manager of Canadian operations.
Joined Chrysler in 1926 as vice president of manufacturing.
Known for succeeding Walter Chrysler as president.
Left in 1928 as CFO.
Became chairman of Democratic National Committee in 1928.
Known for creating GMAC.
Edward Stettinius Jr.
Left in 1934 as vice president of public and industrial relations.
Joined U.S. Steel in 1934 as senior administrator.
Known for Cabinet service as secretary of state in 1944-45 under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.
Left in 1938 as general manager of the Eastern Air Lines subsidiary.
Became part owner, president and general manager of Eastern Air Lines in 1938 buyout.
Known for shooting down 26 enemy planes as World War I flying ace.
William S. Knudsen
Left in 1940 as president.
Joined Roosevelt administration in 1940 to help mobilize U.S. industry for impending war.
Known for managing the transformation into a wartime economy in World War II.
Left in 1942 as group executive in charge of household appliance operations.
Joined Bendix Aviation in 1942 as president.
Known for befriending and mentoring Henry Ford II after World War II.
Was Ford Motor chairman.
Left in 1944 as assistant treasurer and Fisher Body controller.
Joined Ford in 1946 as vice president of operations.
Known for setting up Ford's first cost accounting system.
Left in 1945 as defense economy leader.
Joined Volkswagen in 1948 as general manager.
Known for starting high-volume VW Beetle production in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Left Kansas City assembly plant around 1950 as hourly employee.
Joined U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1953 as a private.
Known for numerous acting awards and memorable performances.
Left in 1953 as president.
Joined Eisenhower administration as secretary of defense.
Known for Senate committee hearing statement: "For years, I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa."
Left in 1959 as hourly employee at Inland Manufacturing.
Became a bootlegger with his father in 1959 before enlisting in the Navy.
Known for founding the Hustler empire in 1972.
Left in 1966 as manager in Buick City's axle department.
Joined Ford as manufacturing manager in 1966.
Known for accomplishments as chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky.
Left in 1968 as executive vice president of overseas, industrial and defense operations.
Joined Ford in 1968 as president.
Known for clashing with Lee Iacocca at Ford.
The result: Knudsen was fired after a year and a half.
Left in 1968 as a design studio manager.
Joined Ford in 1968 as director of Special Design Office.
Known for designing split-window Corvette, Boss Mustangs, Ford Pinto.
Left in 1973 as group executive, domestic car and truck group.
Became a Cadillac dealer and president of the National Alliance of Businessmen.
Known for founding DeLorean Motor Co., building stainless steel cars in Northern Ireland.
Left in 1974 as corporate project manager of downsizing 1977 full-sized cars.
Became chief engineer on the DeLorean sports car venture.
Known for creating the Vixen motor home in the 1980s.
Left in 1975 as Detroit Diesel Division research engineer.
Joined Chrysler Corp. as senior chassis engineer.
Known for engineering contributions to Dodge Viper and Ford GT.
Richard E. Dauch
Left in 1976 as a manufacturing plant manager.
Joined Volkswagen of America as vice president of manufacturing.
Known for co-founding American Axle & Manufacturing.
Left in 1976 as Chevrolet general manufacturing manager.
Joined Volkswagen Manufacturing Corp. of America as president and CEO.
Known for heading the first U.S. transplant auto manufacturer.
Left in 1976 after one day as Buick hourly employee.
Founded and edited alternative weekly magazine, The Flint Voice.
Known for numerous documentary films, including Roger & Me in 1989.
Left in 1980 as Buick chief designer.
Joined Nissan Design International as founding director.
Known for Nissan TV advertising appearances.
Left in 1982 as Pontiac's manager of car assembly operations.
Joined United Technologies as vice president of Otis Elevator operations.
Known for rising to president and COO of United Technologies.
Left in 1984 as senior engineer.
Joined Chrysler as senior quality engineer.
Known for becoming Nissan North America's vice president of product planning.
Left in 1984 as Buick general sales manager.
Joined Toyota as group vice president of sales, marketing, distribution and product planning.
Rejoined GM in 1989 as Chevrolet assistant general manager.
Left GM in 1996; became CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group in Charlotte, N.C., in 1997.
Known for keeping the Corvette alive during troubled 1990s.
Left in 1985 as deputy head of interior design at Opel.
Joined Fiat as head of exterior design.
Known for: Controversial "Bangle butt" in the BMWs of early this decade.
Left in 1985 as interior, exterior and special projects designer at Opel.
Joined VW as head of concept design division.
Known for designing Mini and Mini Clubman at BMW Group.
Left mergers and acquisitions department in 1986.
Joined Norwest Corp. as vice chairman and head of banking group in 1986.
Known for current role as CEO of Wells Fargo Bank.
Left in 1986 as financial department analyst.
Joined Merrill Lynch as an analyst.
Known for service as Merrill Lynch CEO; was GM board member 2001-2006.
Left in 1986 as board member.
Founded Perot Systems data services in 1988.
Known for 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.
Left in 1988 as hourly employee at GM Truck & Bus.
Became freelance author.
Known for 1992 book Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line.
Left in 1992 as president of GM Europe.
Joined Chrysler Corp. as vice chairman and COO.
Known for brokering Chrysler's 1998 sale to Daimler-Benz.
Left in 1992 as chairman and CEO.
Joined Energy Conversion Devices as board chairman in 1995.
Known for development work on the front-drive Oldsmobile Toronado and the catalytic converter.
Left in 1993 as general manager of St.
Therese, Quebec, manufacturing plant.
Joined Pratt & Whitney Canada as operations vice president.
Known for his rise to United Technologies Corp. president and CEO in 2006.
J. Ignacio Lopez
Left in 1993 as worldwide purchasing head, president-to-be of North American operations.
Joined Volkswagen as purchasing and production chief.
Known for leaving CEO Jack Smith holding the bag at a press conference called to announce his promotion; also for long legal battles involving alleged theft of GM's intellectual property.
Left in 1995 as vice president and treasurer.
Joined ITT Industries as CFO.
Known for becoming highest-ranking woman at GM, first female treasurer.
Left in 1995 as superintendent of Janesville (Wis.
) Truck and Bus plant.
Joined Utilimaster division of Harley-Davidson as manufacturing manager.
Known for becoming Nissan's senior vice president of manufacturing, supply chain management, and customer satisfaction for the Americas.
Left in 1998 as vice president of r&d.
Joined Energy Conversion Devices as vice chairman and CEO.
Known for developing and launching GM's EV1 electric vehicle.
Left in 1999 as executive director of North American vehicle integration.
Joined Chrysler as vice president of small-car-platform engineering.
Known for Oldsmobile product planning in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Left in 2000 as vice president of government relations.
Headed 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
Known for his job as the Bush administration's first chief of staff, 2001-06.
Left in 2000 as vice president of corporate advertising and marketing.
Joined AdSpace Networks in 2001 as chairman.
Known for major media deals such as the three-year, $750 million pact with NBC in 1990; making GM the exclusive worldwide auto sponsor of the World Cup 1994 soccer championships; and the 1997 Olympics deal.
Left in 2000 as executive vice president, new business strategies.
Joined Lockheed Martin as president and COO.
Known for heading GM Europe in 1990s.
Left in 2000 as senior vice president of powertrain manufacturing.
Joined the Chrysler group as executive vice president of manufacturing.
Known for preceding Bob Nardelli as Chrysler's chairman and CEO.
Left in 2000 as executive vice president and CFO.
Joined Metaldyne Corp. as board chairman.
Known for general manager stints at Pontiac and Oldsmobile.
Left in 2000 as group vice president for North American sales, service and marketing.
Joined Reliant Equity Investors as managing director.
Known for energizing GMC Truck.
Left in 2001 as vice chairman.
Joined Hughes Electronics as chairman.
Known for his successful challenge of CBS' reporting in a 1963 "60 Minutes" report on the crashworthiness of GM pickups.
Left in 2001 as president of North American operations.
Joined Bausch & Lomb as CEO.
Known for an unsuccessful era of "brand-management" marketing at GM.
Left in 2002 as president of GMAC.
Joined Chubb Corp. as president and CEO.
Known for his long career at GM financial services.
Left in 2003 as general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC.
Joined Saatchi & Saatchi advertising as CEO of Torrance, Calif.
Known for astute marketing of Chevrolet trucks.
Left in 2003 as Buick designer.
Joined Hyundai as chief North American designer.
Known for designing the Buick Lucerne.
Left in 2003 as board chairman.
Joined Delta Air Lines in 2004 as nonexecutive board chairman.
Known for revitalizing GM in the 1990s.
Left in 2004 as president and CEO of GM Europe.
Joined Dana Corp. as president and CEO.
Known for his career at Delco Electronics.
Left in 2004 as group vice president of advanced development and president of e-commerce division.
Joined Magna International as president.
Known for formulating GM's electronic commerce strategies.
Left in 2004 as executive design director at Opel-Vauxhall.
Joined Ford of Europe as executive design director.
Known for designing Audi Quattro exterior and Audi TT interior.
Steve St. Angelo
Left in 2004 as manufacturing director at GM of MexiCo.Joined Toyota in 2005 as vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing in North America.
Known for a 2001 stint as NUMMI plant manager.
Left in 2005 as Cadillac design manager.
Joined Kia Motors as chief North American designer.
Known for designing the 2003 Cadillac CTS.
Left in 2005 as president and COO at Saab.
Joined Diageo North America as chief marketing officer.
Known for presiding over the beginning of the end at Oldsmobile.
Left in 2005 as director of new ventures.
Joined ASC as business development director.
Known for developing the Oldsmobile Intrigue, fuel-cell market research and managing final days of GM's EV1 electric vehicle.
Franz von Holzhausen
Left in 2005 as a design manager.
Joined Mazda North American Operations as design director.
Known for designing the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.
Left in 2006 as vice president of North American quality.
Joined Dell Corp. as operations vice president.
Known for her tenure as Saturn's president, 2001-05.
Left in 2006 as vice chairman and CFO.
Joined Dana Corp. as executive chairman and CEO.
Known for his 32 years at Ford, where he rose to CFO.
Left in 2006 as board member.
Resumed chairman, president and CEO responsibilities at Harwinton Capital.
Known for serving as Kirk Kerkorian's (Tracinda Corp.) representative in dealing with GM.
Left in 2007 as vice president of communications for GM Europe.
Joined PepsiCo as senior vice president for communications.
Known for heading Cadillac and Saturn public relations.
Left in 2007 as general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC.
Joined Escort, which makes radar detectors, as president and COO.
Known for retiring six Buick and Pontiac nameplates.