DETROIT - Analysts look forward to better relations with General Motors when John Devine becomes the company's vice chairman and CFO Jan. 1.
Devine, 56, resigned as Ford Motor Co. CFO in October 1999 to head a San Francisco e-business firm called Fluid Ventures. At Ford he built a reputation for open and consistent communication with Wall Street.
'He really helped set the standard for the way the best companies (in the auto industry) communicate through the Street - through conference calls, through providing information and presenting a consistent message,' said Wendy Beale Needham, auto analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston in New York.
Devine's mission at GM is to increase shareholder value. But GM said he also will be involved in product issues as vice chairman.
'You can't in the auto business just take a very narrow look at just the financials,' Devine said. 'You have to be a participant in the strategy proactively, in the business and the results. Over time, I've learned how to do that well.'
Devine's advisory role will pull from his more than 30 years of experience with Ford, where he held management positions in Europe, Japan and Australia. He will report to CEO Rick Wagoner.
Devine replaces former GM CFO Mike Losh.