UPDATED: 4/14/14 3:46 pm ET - adds photos
DETROIT -- General Motors today said its public relations chief is leaving and appointed a new head of human resources, with both moves effective immediately.
A GM spokesman, Greg Martin, said the actions are not connected to the company's ongoing recall crisis, but rather a result of Mary Barra’s appointment as CEO three months ago. The changes come with GM under intense scrutiny from Congress, its customers and the general public as it tries to contain a crisis surrounding potentially flawed ignition switches in 2.6 million of those cars that has grown larger by the day.
“It’s not related to the recall,” Martin said. “It’s a part of any transition where the CEO makes changes and puts together her leadership team.”
GM said John Quattrone, 61, will take over as the head of human resources, replacing Melissa Howell in a position that Barra herself held until 2011. Quattrone, a 39-year GM veteran, previously was executive director of human resources for GM’s global product development, purchasing and supply chain organization.
Quattrone worked directly for Barra during her time running the global human resources department from 2009 through 2011.
“John brings to the job a deep and rich breadth of experience across all levels of the enterprise,” Barra said in a statement. “This background is invaluable as we create lasting change that puts the customer at the center of how we work and how we measure ourselves going forward.”
The company will begin a search to replace Selim Bingol, 53, a former AT&T corporate communications executive who had led GM’s public relations team since March 2010. Bingol also was GM’s head of global public policy since October 2012.
Until a permanent replacement for Bingol is found, his role will be filled on an interim basis by Randy Arickx, GM’s head of investor relations.
“We appreciate Selim's service and for his helping tell the GM story during one of the most exciting periods in the company's history,” Barra said in the statement.
Howell, 47, was GM’s head of global human resources for 14 months. Bingol came to GM under former CEO Ed Whitacre, having worked under Whitacre at AT&T. GM said both Howell and Bingol are leaving the company “to pursue other interests.”