DETROIT - Lawrence Burns, a top engineer and planner at General Motors, has been put in charge of GM Research and Development, replacing Ken Baker.
Baker, 51, was named general manager of the new Micro-Turbine Business Unit, which will develop small turbine engines to power vehicles.
Burns, 46, a career GM engineer and executive, will continue as executive director in charge of North American Operations planning.
He will help GM push new technology into vehicles, said NAO President Rick Wagoner.
Burns joined GM in 1969 and worked 19 years in engineering and research and development at GM's research laboratories. Starting in 1988, he began various vehicle planning, manufacturing and quality jobs. He took charge of NAO planning in 1996. In his latest move, he was also made a GM vice president.
Baker will try to develop the potential of small turbine engines. At the Detroit auto show in January, GM showed a prototype car powered by a turbine engine from Williams International, of Walled Lake, Mich. Williams developed small turbines to power U.S. military cruise missiles.
The small turbines also can be used to generate electricity for villages in developing countries, GM said. They also can be used in factories and other local applications.