DETROIT -- General Motors Co.'s new U.S. vice president of diversity says his job is to help the company build its global culture of diversity and inclusion. He will oversee dealer, supplier and employee issues related to diversity.
“Diversity and inclusion is a big part of how we think we are going to win -- having everybody's input and them being valued for their contribution,” Eric Peterson said in an interview today.
Peterson, named to the new position today, said some of the job's duties were previously handled by Rod Gillum, who was vice president for corporate responsibility and diversity. Gillum retired in October 2009.
In his new position, Peterson, 58, reports to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, and Mary Barra, vice president of global human resources.
He continues in his role as director of industry dealer affairs, in which he manages relationships with GM's National Dealer Council, Minority Dealer Advisory Council and Women's Dealer Advisory Council.
Peterson also manages GM's relationship with the National Automobile Dealers Association. In his director role, he continues to report to Jim Bunnell, general manager of dealer network and sales support.
Peterson said he will play a strategic role in helping GM maintain a “robust, diverse” supplier base. He said GM does business with more than 400 minority- and women-owned suppliers and actively mentors and supports 26.
Peterson is also responsible for GM's diversity efforts with customers, employees and communities.
Citing a recently reinstated board of 12 vice presidents that oversee GM's minority dealer development program and the hiring of two African-American advertising agencies and a Hispanic advertising agency, Peterson said GM is making progress.
GM also said last month that it would add 35 minority-owned dealerships to its network by the end of 2011. The company has 205 minority-owned dealerships.
Peterson said GM's top management has made it clear that “diversity is not a person or a few people. It's everyone's responsibility.”
Peterson joined GM in 1976 in its Buick division and became GM director for industry dealer affairs in October 2009.