By on February 23, 2010

Automotive News [sub] reports that the one-time advisor to Rick Wagoner and GM’s director in charge of the UAW’s VEBA account’s 17.5 percent stake in the automaker has been promoted to Vice Chairman in charge of corporate strategy and business development. He will be replacing John Smith, a 59 year-old GM “lifer” (he joined the company in 1968) who led negotiations for GM’s Saab-Spyker and Opel-Magna deals. Smith will stay on until the end of this year as an advisor to CFO Chris Liddell. That Smith would leave GM after the failed Opel sale and the less-than-entirely-satisfying Saab-Spyker deal isn’t surprising, and as a well-compensated advisor to CEO Ed Whitacre and a rising star at GM, Girsky is an equally unsurprising replacement (despite his failure to rescue Saturn). And though Girsky brings experience gained as a labor advisor and a Morgan Stanley analyst, he’s got his work cut out for him. GM’s brand sales have been largely unsuccessful so far, Opel is in an unfunded turnaround limbo, and a recent India-market alliance with SAIC was less than perfect for GM’s long-term prospects. Girsky’s got a lot going for him compared to the typical GM insider, but with mounting long-term, structural issues facing The General, there aren’t any easy options facing him in his new capacity.

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5 Comments on “GM Names UAW VEBA Director Girsky Vice Chairman...”

  • avatar
    crash sled

    This move makes sense. The UAW needs a seat at the table, to support their VEBA holdings in Government Motors, and this provides them one. “Vice Chairman in charge of corporate strategy and business development”… that would seem to have this guy balancing on the precipice. He can protect current UAW workers’ jobs, or he can grow the enterprise and increase the value of that 17.5% UAW holding. Risks and opportunities. Good luck, big guy.

  • avatar

    Ed, your copy should say that he’s replacing John Smith, not John Williams. It looks like you refer to him as Williams twice in the post.

    Oh, and the CFO’s name is Chris Liddell, not Ryan Liddell.

  • avatar

    So let’s see. Hire the guy for strategy when he was the main pusher of Saturn’s survival. If he thought that was a great strategic idea, I can’t wait for the next move. I’m guessing ‘introduce a new brand in Europe to slot between Opel and Chevy’?

  • avatar

    I was just wondering, what happens to all of the VEBA money if we get Obamas health care? Just a thought.

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