Shortly after emerging from bankruptcy last July, when GM’s sales were still showing few signs of recovery, then-Sales and Marketing boss Mark LaNeve had his marketing responsibilities stripped about a week before monthly sales came out. In a matter of months, LaNeve was out the door. Sales and marketing were rolled together again when Susan Docherty took over for LaNeve, but over the weekend it was once again stripped away, in one of the first signs that Docherty’s star is no longer rising at GM. And lets go ahead and start assuming that February sales must be looking fairly grim, because the only real explanation given to Automotive News [sub] is that
The shakeup shows that Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre is impatient to boost sales and for consumers to appreciate what he believes is the high quality of GM vehicles. When he became chief executive in December, Whitacre said his sales and marketing team would need to show results quickly.
The perception gap claims another victim! But Docherty’s downgrade is Mark Reuss’s gain. The former Holden boss, now GM’s President of North American operations, will assume the sales responsibilities, leaving Docherty time to focus on the marketing side and polish up her resumé.
Indeed, the only evidence that the S&M split doesn’t mean Docherty is on her way out is that the same division of labor is being repeated across the executive ranks. Because if you can’t pay your execs enough, hiring twice as many can’t be a bad idea. You know, unless bloated management bureaucracies are a long-standing weakness for your company. In any case,
GM will create a divisional reporting structure that separates sales and marketing. Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick-GMC will each have a marketing boss, reporting to Docherty, and a sales leader, reporting to Reuss, said the sources, who declined to be identified. The division chiefs now handle both functions.