WASHINGTON – A General Motors’ communication director in Washington has accepted the company’s buyout offer, leaving the automaker without a key public policy voice amid criticism over plans to close plants and eliminate jobs.
Dayna Hart said in an email to friends and colleagues on Friday that she accepted the company's voluntary severance package. She’ll be moving overseas, she said in a text message to Automotive News, without elaborating.
Her Dec. 1 departure followed a week in which GM was chastised by U.S. President Donald Trump and lawmakers from both parties after announcing plans to shut as many as five North American plants while trimming its work force.
GM extended the offer on Oct. 31 to North American salaried employees who have been with the company 12 years or more and are eligible for six months of pay and health benefits, effective Feb. 1, spokesman Patrick Morrissey said.
The deadline for accepting the voluntary package was Nov. 19.
Eighteen thousand employees were eligible and 2,250 requested to accept the severance deal, according to The Detroit News.
GM has not disputed the figure.
Morrissey said involuntary layoffs will begin after Jan. 1 as the company works to reduce salaried headcounts by 15 percent.
Some employees, such as Hart, were allowed to negotiate an early departure, effective Dec. 1, and will receive eight months pay, he added.
Hart's duties will be covered by Jeannine Ginivan, who joined GM's public policy staff in the summer after handling media affairs for Volkswagen Group of America.
Hart has led GM's communications operations in D.C. since May. She previously held a series of communications jobs in Detroit dealing with labor, manufacturing and technology issues. She spent more than four years, through July 2015, in Shanghai managing internal and external communications for GM China.
She is also a former spokesperson for GM's Hummer brand, which was shuttered during the company's 2008-09 restructuring.