Mark LaNeve Says Goodbye to GM

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Mark LaNeve’s career success at GM—moving from minor league Cadillac man to the head of S&M (Sales and Marketing)—is a text book example of GM’s obliviousness to the idea of accountability. Despite failing to resurrect Cadillac’s fortunes, despite helping Rick “Captain Queeg” Wagoner fondle his balls (read the book) as GM sank into bankruptcy, LaNeve didn’t go down with the ship. While his turf was carved-up post-C11, the beneficiary of the slice and dice was none other than failed Car Czar Bob Lutz, who assumed LaNeve’s marketing remit. Did LaNeve even take a salary cut? Don’t make me laugh. But if you do want to solicit a sad sort of chuckle, remind me that LaNeve is headed to Allstate. You’re in good hands? The man is bitching about his Escalade payment, having overseen the destruction of billions in shareholder value and the disappearance of thousands of dealers. See? If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.

To: All GM Dealers

After 28 years in the auto business and 24 with GM, I can’t believe that beginning next week I will be doing something different than trying to sell cars and sweating out another month-end close.

It’s been a great ride to this point and I wouldn’t be leaving if not for a great opportunity in a great industry in a great town. To that end, Chicago is close enough to Detroit to make the relocation manageable and has outstanding special needs resources for my sons. In the meantime, I feel good that I’m departing at a time that GM is on the right track with great products, dealers and employees. A clean balance sheet for the first time in decades doesn’t hurt either.

It has been a thrill to work with the great dealers of General Motors. Your professionalism, talent, perseverance, optimism and community involvement have never ceased to amaze me. From the day I hired into the Cadillac Los Angeles Zone in 1981 as a customer relations rep, my entire career has involved working with all of you to help sell vehicles and satisfy customers. It has been a lot of fun and a great experience.

The last couple of years have been difficult for our industry and GM. The wind-down process, though necessary, was particularly painful and personal. I am confident however that the worst is over and success lays just over the horizon.

The leadership team at GM is strong, Susan Docherty is a great choice for Vice President US Sales and believe me they don’t come any better or harder working than Ed Peper, Jim Bunnell, Steve Hill, Brian Sweeney, Kurt McNeil, Jim Campbell and Julie Heisel in sales and Brent Dewar, Jay Spenchian, Betsy Lazar and Bryan Nesbitt on the marketing side.

I just had to buy my first vehicle for myself in years – an Escalade. The payment is high but I love it anyway and there is no question I will sell GM every chance I get to my friends and co-workers and cheer for all of you each and every day.

Thank you for all you have done for me and GM, and please accept my very best wishes for many years of success.

Great selling and go kick some ass. It has truly been my honor and pleasure to know you and serve you.

Mark LaNeve

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Anonymous Anonymous on Oct 15, 2009

    A lot of juvenille vitriol from the B & B I'd say. Name calling and insults are quite unbecoming really.

  • MM MM on Oct 16, 2009
    russification: Spot on! You nailed it all quite succinctly.