By on March 2, 2010

GM has announced its new North American organizational shuffle [full release available here], and have included the following slides to help explain some of the changes. The clear winner: President of NA operations, Mark Reuss, who had this to say:

It’s become extremely clear to me since taking this role that there is a better way to structure this organization. The premise of the structure is simple — a clearer marketing focus to sell more vehicles, and freeing our sales and service experts to focus on customers and dealers. In order to be successful in North America, we need the right mix of product, people and structure. We’ve worked with a small group of executives to align this model and appoint the best candidates for each job.

Notice how he doesn’t call the new structure a simplification. As the following slides show, there’s nothing simple about the structure changes. In fact, the only thing that’s certain about this latest GM reshuffle is that wrestling with GM’s bureaucracy still takes up as much time for top managers as actually working on products, planning, outreach and other core business activities.

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21 Comments on “GM’s Reshuffle Revealed...”

  • avatar

    Simple reorg. Give Aztek Mark all the power, and demote Susan. The demoting Docherty thing is good, but how can Big Ed justfy putting a all that power in the hands of a serial failure like Reuss?

    They must be out of ideas.

  • avatar

    Looks like they stole a bunch of Toyota’s “precision-machined” pedal shims and painted them to make these charts.

  • avatar

    There was a joke going around GM in the 1990s…

    It compared their constant reorganizations to getting a flat tire while driving, pulling over, and rotating the tires.

    Some things don’t change much.

  • avatar

    What GM needs is a REALLY GOOD marketing whiz. It’s pretty clear that Docherty is not the person for this job. Never was. Never will be.

    Not sure why GM doesn’t go outside of GM to find the right guy. I know of several who would be top-notch.

    If marketing is GM’s biggest challenge, why leave a weak person in that role???

  • avatar

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand shit.

    Why GMC and Buick marketing are together? It’s the same sales “channel”, but markets should be different and hence the marketing.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m still tying to figure out what the point / purpose of GMC is and or paired with Buick.

      You’d have to be really bloomin STUPID to look at GMC and think.. ooh look, that’s a good idea!

      Then again,
      I’m still pissed off that Caddy sells the SRX as the cheapest in the CTS sized lineup, with the sedan then the wagon as the most expensive of the CTS sized lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      How where the brands paired back in the day? BOP (Buick, Olds, Pontiac) and ??? I can never remember the other cause BOP was the only one I gave a crap about. (Taps playing silently in the background.)

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      @educatordan – what I remember is BOC – Buick, Olds, Cadillac and CPC – Chevy, Pontiac, Canada

  • avatar

    Looks like more people to point fingers at each other, but anything that takes responsibility from that arrogant airhead Susan Docherty can’t be all wrong.

  • avatar


    I thought that’s how it was always done.

    Guess if ya GM, ya need a coupla useless layers of FAT inbetween the good stuff.

    Id still like to know.. how Nesbitt (who designed the HHR and the Pt Loser) goes from a Designer position at Chevy, to GENERAL MGR at CADDY?!

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Nesbitt sounds like some of the Design geeks over at Ford a few years ago. They were given free rein, too, and it helped cripple Ford product development. Jay Mays and that Richard Parry Jones clown were just boat anchors. Full of ideas… all of them packed with cost and schedule erosion.

      You don’t promote people like this, you fire them. The Detroit 3 has to send some of these people packing.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the concept of the PT Cruiser and the HHR. The way I see it, the vehicles failure… as to no fault of his own.

      When he designed the PT Loser originally, I’m sure it was a nice looking vehicle. Only when it comes through marketing and or engineering does it come out to be a raving POS.

      It was handicapped in the beginning with the solid beam out back and a 2ltr motor. Sure, it doesn’t help that Chrysler went through a massive transmogrification and 2 owners on virtually the same dated shit. In the time that, Chrysler didn’t have any money to spend on a re-freshening with the mentality that… only a couple more years until we can refresh it, only a coupla more years.

      I believe Nesbitt left about 2005. The Pt Crusier could have easily been redone then, or at least touched. But the person who replaced him, (Ralph Giles) was more interested in making his own mark and creating that synergy with Mercedes Benz in the form of the EClass / 300C, than reworking cars that have sat around for coming on 6yrs.

      With Nesbitt gone and thje Pt Cruiser now the biggest Loser on the block… he moved to GM with Lutz who put him to work doing what he does well. SO without brand issues, or copyright infringement, he created the HHR. And on the whole.. Its a decent vehicle, for what it is.

      But its marketing was tied to the SSR, and I believe the HHR and SSR are totally related. The SSR is a bust. A confusing little POS, that I believe had a decent motor. But had a set of looks that only a mother could love.

      The HHR is out and hasn’t been retouched since he penned it. It looks awkward around the 1st gen Equinox and looked stale around the out-going Malixu Maxx. I’m sure it will die peacefully (a horrible and forgettable death, that no one will miss it.)

      In the end
      Nesbitt was responsible for designing / penning the two cars in a kind of “retro theme” that started with the New Beetle of ’98. How the vehicle got to market and or was sold and or cheapened is out of his control.

      What was his control… or not.. was getting moved SIDEWAYS into GENERAL MANAGEMENT of CADDY!
      That doesn’t make any bloomin’ sense.

      At the very least, he should have been a Development / design leader of all product out of Chevy, or some such related titled shit.

      He shouldn’t be over at Caddy screwing around.

    • 0 avatar

      hey crash: +1 on the J and RPJ comment. While RPJ did help Ford to make real driver’s cars, he always showed-up too late in the development cycle and causing what I, for my commodity, internally called “the RPJ effect” (translation: good change a year too late and 6 months before J1, so say hello to unnecessary compression costs and risks.) And J, what an over-hyped re-interpreter of other’s designs.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      RW, RPJ may have irrationally compressed your schedule, but I’m certain you absorbed this compression, and delivered world class.

      That is the genius of North American automotive product development, in my opinion. It has an ethic to deliver under an exceptions-based model. You need REALLY skilled people to do this, and only here will you find them. It’s cultural, I guess. Any drone can deliver within a template, but the types of curveballs that the RPJ’s of this world are allowed to throw, illegal spitballs is really what they’re throwing, would make the rest of the world throw up their hands and quit.

      Problem is, exceptions-based management is a well you can only go to sporadically. The RPJ’s and Nassers of this world think the business should be built upon this model, and it can’t. You have to have a baseline process, and let the exceptions crop up on their own, and they will, and be dealt with, and they certainly will be, by the brilliant folks we bring to the table. But you can’t create your own exceptions every day, as that’s just madness, promotes inefficiency and is a plan to fail, eventually.

      I think Toyota is finding this out now. They wanted to speed up product development, too, but now they’re discovering that maybe they DO need to build those prototypes, and maybe they DO need to do some DV and stop depending so much on CADD voodoo, and maybe they DO need to extend the development cycle back to a more responsible duration, one that has historically made sense. They were chasing market share, same as Ford and the rest, and they succumbed to the sweet siren call of speed to market with the latest and greatest. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You have to execute well, and profitably, and that has to be the measure.

      I knew Mays was a money loser the instant I saw him giving a long discourse on residential building architecture one day. You can’t have a head in the clouds geek at the top of the pyramid, particularly one who not only knows little about NA automotive, but seemingly even LESS about an unrelated topic upon which he’s waxing eloquent, even as he somehow attempts to relate it to automotive.

      I’m sure he helped their cars as you mentioned, but RPJ had no business being allowed within 100 miles of Ford’s trucks. That’s the golden goose, and some head in the clouds continental Brit isn’t the guy for that. He launched the 2004 F-150 at $1,500 over target. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, RPJ. You failed. That’s $1-2B per year of pure profit… gone… every year since your failure.

      The Detroit 3 has to call these guys out, and fast. Maybe GM is reshuffling the deck chairs, but that’s better than leaving the same old slugs in the same old places. The reshuffle can’t be any worse.

  • avatar

    Apparently “Big Ed” Whitacre doesn’t get it either. GM needs outside talent to succeed. End of story.

  • avatar

    Shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic?

    What the hell is a field team? What’s under the blue boxes that can’t deal with the dealers directly?

  • avatar

    Of course GMNA was screwed up. From the first chart, just look at all the work they passed onto Mexico!

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Deck Chairs Titanic

  • avatar

    Sorry, I still don’t unerstand the difference between marketing and sales.

    What does Chevrolet Marketing do that Chevrolet Sales doesn’t do?

    Does Marketing do the world wide advertising, public relations, and tell the dealers how to design their stores? Does Sales just put pressure on the franchisee and sales people we have to deal with?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Buick and GMC remain mashed together because they are what is left of last year’s Big Idea to combine Buick, Pontiac and GMC together into a Sales Channel.

    This kind of deck chair shuffling is a big part of what is wrong with so many modern corporations. The so called leaders spout off all kinds of buzz word filled hoo-ha while rarely actually getting busy and doing the work that matters. I doubt many of them can actually tell you what part of their job matters and what part is just a waste of time.

    I’ll give the marketing execs their first hint: Product names really matter, and tapping into the residual goodwill from legendary names is an easy choice to make. Cadillac’s present naming scheme is the sort of thing Power Point deck happy MBAs love, but it is a complete failure at arousing the desire of customers to buy the things. Imagine the person who has been buying a new Deville every five years forever. They come in for their latest one and discover that it has a silly three latter not-even-a-name now and is unloved by the very people selling them. Deville buyers don’t want to be told that Cadillacs are now a great substitute for German cars!

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