Cadillac's Ferguson sent to D.C. to steer GM recall crisis

There have been discussions about Ferguson leaving his Cadillac post and returning to D.C. permanently to assume his previous job as vice president of global public policy. No decision has been made, GM insiders say.
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DETROIT -- General Motors has dispatched Cadillac chief and former head lobbyist Bob Ferguson to Washington, D.C., to help steer the company through the crisis surrounding its handling of the ignition-switch recall.

Ferguson left Detroit for Washington more than a week ago to help GM prepare for separate House and Senate committee hearings on the company's recall of 1.37 million U.S. small cars. A faulty ignition switch has been tied to 34 crashes and 12 deaths.

He was GM's chief lobbyist from 2010 until October 2012, when he was appointed senior vice president of global Cadillac.

“Our immediate focus is on our customers and preparing for congressional hearings,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said in a written statement. “We’re drawing people from all parts of the business to help manage the ignition-switch recall. Bob is a part of that team.”

The Detroit News reported Ferguson’s move earlier.

There have been discussions about Ferguson returning to D.C. permanently to assume his previous job as vice president of global public policy but no decision has been made, GM insiders say.

Martin declined to comment beyond Ferguson's short-term assignment in Washington.

Selim Bingol, GM's senior vice president of global communications and public policy, has been splitting his time as head of public relations and handling Ferguson's Washington duties since October 2012, when Ferguson was picked by former CEO Dan Akerson to run Cadillac.

Since arriving at Cadillac, Ferguson has accelerated the brand's expansion in China and hired a new advertising agency, Detroit's Rogue, to replace Minneapolis-based Fallon.

GM CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to appear Tuesday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, followed by testimony Wednesday before a Senate panel.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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