DETROIT -- Veteran General Motors sales executive Pete Gerosa, 64, is retiring. That move is triggering major changes in GM's vehicle sales, service and marketing division.
A series of management changes will give GM a new advertising chief. Mike Jackson, 49, will move from being GM's Western regional general manager in Los Angeles to replace Brent Dewar as vice president of marketing and advertising. Under Jackson's tenure, GM elevated its West Coast image and customer satisfaction scores.
Dewar, 50, steps in to fill Gerosa's job as vice president of field sales, service and parts, effective March 1. But before Gerosa vacates his office, he'll get a new assignment -- to reorganize GM's field operations, said Mark LaNeve, GM's North America vice president for sales, service and marketing, in an interview with Automotive News last week.
Gerosa, who's been with GM for 42 years, will reorganize the field operations to assign personnel to one of its four sales channels -- Chevrolet, Cadillac-Hummer-Saab, Saturn and Buick-Pontiac-GMC.
In 1999, Ron Zarrella, then president of GM North America, divvied up field operations so that field representatives handled multiple brands. Dealers didn't like it. In 2002, GM tweaked the plan to allow dealers in large metropolitan areas to work with field representatives who specialized in a specific brand.
This latest plan will be wider in scope than what GM did four years ago, but GM officials stopped short of saying it's an admission that Zarrella's plan wasn't working.
"The efficiency model was based more on people moving around -- one person representing a number of dealerships in one area -- and that has some strengths," said Jeff Kuhlman, a GM spokesman. "But it doesn't focus on brands, and we feel brand focus is more important."
LaNeve said the move is part of a larger change in GM marketing as it tries to sharpen brand identity and target incentive programs to sales channels.
The reorganization should take 60 to 90 days to complete and should not significantly reduce head count, LaNeve said.
Jackson joins the marketing team after running the Western region since 2002. "Some of the things he's put in place have helped GMC and Saturn to do very well in California," Kuhlman said.
Susan Docherty, 43, replaces Jackson as Western regional general manager. She has been general manager of Hummer since September 2004. Martin Walsh, 53, will replace Docherty as head of Hummer. He's now executive director of sales and marketing support.
Kathy Jackson contributed to this report
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]