Gary Cowger of General Motors and Jeff Raikes of Microsoft Corp. will be among the speakers addressing the Jan. 16 morning session of the 2001 Automotive News World Congress.
On Jan. 1, 2001, Cowger becomes group vice president of GM's global manufacturing operations in addition to his current position as head of labor relations.
Cowger became group vice president of labor relations in November 1998 after a bitter labor dispute and strikes cost GM $2.5 billion in profits. His mandate was to heal the U.S. labor rift. He had been chairman of Adam Opel AG in Germany.
In 1999, as chief negotiator, Cowger led GM's drive for a four-year national contract with more than 185,000 UAW members at GM and Delphi Automotive Systems Corp., which had been spun off from GM that year.
Before taking the helm at Opel in 1998 Cowger was vice president of GM's European manufacturing operations, including 14 plants in 10 countries. Cowger also has manufacturing experience at GM of Mexico and Cadillac. He joined the company in 1965 as a General Motors Institute co-op student.
Raikes is group vice president of productivity and business services at Microsoft and is a member of the company's senior leadership team. He is responsible for maintaining the growth of core businesses as well as leading the team responsible for emerging technologies.
Last year Microsoft joined with Ford Motor Co. to develop a build-to-order system that links Internet ordering services with manufacturer's supply and delivery systems. In September the company also struck a deal with the Blaupunkt subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH with the goal of creating in-vehicle computing and communications, including navigation and telematics devices.
Raikes was group vice president in charge of worldwide sales and support in 1996; he was responsible for sales, marketing and service. In 19 years with Microsoft he also has been senior vice president of Microsoft North America and director of applications marketing. Before joining Microsoft, he managed software development at Apple Computer Inc.
Raikes also is on the board of broadband provider XO Communications, formerly known as Nextlink Corp, and is a part-owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team.