By on May 25, 2010

As you remember,  Susan “If you know what I’m good for, answers on a postcard, please” Docherty got canned from her job of Sales and Marketing of U.S Operations, to make room for Joel Ewanick. Back then, many thought it was only a matter of time before ol’ Doperty (see what I did there?) got the ol’ heave ho from GM CEO Eddie Whitacre. Unfortunately, it seems someone still likes her (again, answers on a postcard, please) and she’s now landed another gig at GM. Only this time, they’ve let her loose on the golden goose (hey, see what I d….never mind).

Susan Docherty will be shanghaied. DetNews reports that Miss Susan Docherty will be vice president of sales, marketing and after sales for GM’s markets of Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. Technically correct. Practically,  she’ll be responsible for the marketing of GM vehicles in China and other key growth markets that fall under the purview of GMIO (GM International Operations), operating out of Shanghai. Shipped to Shanghai will be  the person who worked on the marketing for Saab, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac. Oh, and had a hand in this. In Shanghai, she’ll be working out of China’s second largest building, the Jin Mao Tower, where GMIO has a low-rent presence on the 10th floor.

Now to all those who think “Hang on, Cammy! Aren’t you being a tad harsh and taking this out of context?” I say one thing. Further into the DetNews article GM CEO Ed Whitacre was quoted to have said “Growth in China and other emerging markets is important to the company’s future…We are counting on Susan to make significant contribution, and I am glad to have her running this critical part of our business.” No wiggle room there, eh, Ed? You’re counting on Susan to deliver growth in one of your key markets? Well, can’t say I blame you for putting trust in her. I mean, Hummer, Saturn, Saab and Pontiac were such rip-roaring successes, right? Cammy out.

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26 Comments on “Docherty Shanghaied...”


  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Someone once told me that when you have a sponsor, all you need to fill out on a promotion application is your name and social security number. Looks like Susie has one heck of a sponsor.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      Yuppers, having a sponser can have it’s benefits, but you are resented and if that person happens to leave, you are marked, they won’t fire you, but it’s done.

      As Bertel pointed out below, the key is who actually runs GM china now, it’s window dressing to avoid the scorn of the women they are hoping will buy buicks and caddys (I’m sure she knows that as well, but the paycheck is probably quite nice).

  • avatar
    cwallace

    It would be tough to muck up Buick’s brand position in China at this point, but if she puts her mind to it…

  • avatar
    50merc

    Giant Portugese Man of War gives birth to Buick Regal at Hollywood Palladium. I see GM is still spending money as if it belongs to someone else. Oh, wait…

  • avatar
    nevets248

    “ol’ Doperty (see what I did there)?
    three point paly, Cammy.
    I think it sounds better than “Hummer” Docherty!
    nice piece.

  • avatar

    Jesus Christ. If it weren’t our money wasted by keeping D’oherty onboard, this would be the funniest thing I’ve seen this month.

    So.. anyone else here need more proof Grandpa Ed has no f@$%ing clue what he’s doing? Good luck in China, Susie.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    She is in charge of Sales and Marketing. Not research and design. And certainly not labor. She did the best that she could, given the limited appeal of the products and the boat-anchor UAW. Hummer was actually an aspirational brand at one time.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It seems risky to put personae non gratae in charge of such crucial markets as Asia. As an American, it at least made sense for Docherty to head up Sales and Marketing in the U.S., effectiveness aside. I’d be dubious of anyone who spent so long in the American market suddenly taking the reins in a completely different market with a different culture and different tastes. Perhaps I’m overthinking; after all, a market with a brand called “Brilliance” might actually like the slogan “Excellence for Everyone.”

    • 0 avatar

      1.) Nobody can remember a slogan in China, too many cars

      2.) Agency presents ad.
      Susan: “Nice picture. The text is in Chinese.”
      Account Director: “It’s for the Chinese market.”
      Susan: “I see. What does it say?”
      AD: “It’s a great slogan.”
      Susan: “That’s what it says?”
      AD: “That’s what it is.”
      Susan: “What does it say in English?”
      AD: “It’s in Chinese.”
      Susan: “Translate!”
      AD: “Very hard.”
      Susan: “Try your best.”
      AD: “The people’s admirable car.”
      Susan: “That’s what it says?”
      AD: “It doesn’t translate well, in Chinese it sound much better. There is an old Chinese proverb …”
      Susan: “What does it say???”
      AD: “All outstanding for the working masses.”
      Susan: “You’ve got to be kidding me. Where do you think we are? In China?”
      AD: “So sorry. As I said, it’s a great slogan but hard to translate.”
      Susan: “Try harder.”
      AD: “Fineness for the people.”
      Susan: “It really says that?”
      AD: “Chinese is a hard language.”
      Susan: “Boy do I ever know. Try again …”
      AD: “Excellence for … for … for…”
      Susan: ” … everyone?”
      AD: “In a way, yes, you could say that.”
      Susan: “I take it!”
      AD. “Xie, xie. I’ll take it over to SAIC and have it approved.”

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      BS: Classic!

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      Seconded.

    • 0 avatar
      Rusted Source

      Good one BS, that was worth a chuckle or two.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Personally, I thought the South Park episode where Satan was presented with Acura Cake was more dramatic than the lame Los Angeles reveal of the Regal.

    Actually, that’s my professional analysis as well, now that I am no longer in the Tubes and Susan is in China, figuring things out … as she does, however it is that she does.

  • avatar

    The Regal’s introduction looks like typical Apple BS and hype. All this hype for a car that will end up in the junk pile with the G8, GTO, and Aura. This is a pointless introduction for a pointless car. Most buyers will prefer a real car like the Acura. There is a stench of failure in the room.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      A “real car like Acura…” Really? Which one? The TSX? If there’s a stench of failure right now, it’s in the Acura showroom. At least Buick is improving, not regressing.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Incidentally, just yesterday I saw a pair of camouflaged Opel sedans on a trailer heading south on I-25 in Denver. They appear to be the 2011 Buick Regal, but still wearing Opel badging. Perhaps heading to Arizona for hot-weather testing?

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Remember the end of the great Bill Murray movie “Stripes?” Where the soldiers beat back the Commies, and everyone is triumphant(John Candy on the cover of “Tiger Beat,” etc?), yet ineffectual stooge Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) ends up in Antarctica?

    When I heard Reuss was re-assigning Docherty, I thought she’d get an equally obscure, remote assignment (re: Canadian fleet sales). But NOOOOOO……they give her sales & marketing for growing markets!

    Talk about a fox in the henhouse alert. For every good move GM makes, they follow up with at least one or two stupid ones.

    I’ll try to look at the bright side. Whomever really runs the GMIO show probably has the political cover to listen to her, smile, ignore her ideas and go about doing their jobs.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    This looks like a brilliant move. GM can’t just dump a senior female executive, and Ewanick needs elbow room, so they not only ship her out of the country but ten/eleven time zones away, across the international date line.

    She gets a VP title, not of GM but GMIO and for sales for basically everywhere except the US/Europe. It’s too big a job for any VP to be anything more than a figurehead, and Rattlesnake-Killer Ed sends her off with “we’re counting on her…” for management skills? No, for IDEAS.

    All she has to do is sit in her office chewing pencils while thinking up stuff, and if she tries to phone anybody at RenCen, they’re in bed. They can read/delete her emails in the morning.

    I guess they hope that after she gets tired of the situation she’ll resign so she can go home to North America and they’ll give her a party and a watch. It’s expensive, but it beats the bad PR of firing her.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Lorenzo, that sounds about right to me. I sure hope you’re right. I’d hate to think Big Ed and Little Reuss are so clueless to think Docherty will bring GM more growth in emerging markets.

      As for Rob Finrock’s lament about them keeping such expensive deadwood with our money, console yourself with this: it’s a pittance compared to Red Ink Rick’s golden ‘chute reward for destroying $60 billion of shareholder value.

      Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel any better either.

  • avatar

    I don’t think Acura executives are having sleepless nights over the V4 Regal. In fact I don’t think Acura gives Buick any thought at all. Once again we are seeing a GM division pretending to be something it is not. While Buick aspires to be a serious challenger to Acura, Toyota is stealing their customers with the Avalon and Camry. Apparently, Toyota understands better than Buick in what mainstream American car buyers want.

    There is a reason the Impala is still GM’s bestselling car. However, GM does not learn and the Regal will soon be an orphan car. In five years you will see them in used car lots with G8s, GTOs, and Astras.
    Now, those would be decent used cars. A $9000 G8 would be a steal thanks to a dreadful resell value. Here, GM’s stupid marketing would be a benefit for those looking for a world-class used car.

    I think everyone hear believes with the Regal Buick is sitting on a showroom dud.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      No, not everyone here believes that the Regal is a dud. Just the GM bashers/haters.

      Oh wait….what was I thinking? This is TTAC. Lets see we all hate Susan Docherty,{though I still think she is hot}we used to hate Bob Lutz, and rabid Rick. Even old Fritz spent some time in the TTAC hate barrel. How does one keep so much hate?

      But most of all we all just hate General Motors,and we make sure our every comment,reflects just that.

      There is no objecttivity here. Day after day, the same thing. If its not, GM its the UAW.

      Look at the recent comments. I’m looking at you “akear”/”Frinfrock” notice a trend?….do the words “preching to the choir” mean anything to you?

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Reading back my comments about Docherty, I feel kinda lousy. Mikey is right; the GM hate on TTAC has gotten carried away and I’m partly to blame.

      Let’s all take a moment to be decent human beings. Whatever happened at GM has happened, no one can undo it, plus kicking a dog in the head — whether it’s down or not — is always cruel.

      There is good news. The new marketing guy has been given carte blanche to get rid of stupid ideas. He got a new Chevy agency within weeks, same as when Mulally brought back the Taurus name right away. Maybe the words “but that’s how we always do it here” are now cause for termination at GM. Buick does seem to be on the ascent with LaCrosse and Enclave, though I personally think they need a big sedan and the Regal’s a dud; every Opel or Holden design brought over here seems to tank…..OK, Mikey, I’ll stop before getting back on the hate again………

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    She married? If not, maybe I’ll take a stroll across the street and see if she wants to pop up to Cloud 9 for a couple cocktails.

  • avatar

    Shuffling these executives around is tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. When you sell only a few cars a week what the heck do Buick dealers do during most of the day. It is not surprising the landscaping at our local Buick dealer is so immaculate. “Jim it is slow today – go out and do some weeding”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weed_control


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