Chevy Boss Dewar Fired

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Chevrolet brand manager Brent Dewar has become the latest victim of Ed Whitacre’s purge of GM’s management, reports Automotive News [sub]. Dewar will be replaced by James Campbell, who had been in charge of GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations. According to a GM release:

Dewar has elected to retire effective April 1, 2010 to dedicate more time to his family and to pursue personal interests. Until then, Dewar will work closely with Campbell to ensure a smooth transition at Chevrolet and also will be on a special assignment supporting Mark Reuss, GM president North America, in his new role.

Though this seems to be a continuation of Ed Whitacre’s purge of GM “lifers,” it also continues his trend of promoting other apparent lifers to replace them. Dewar’s replacement Campbell has been with GM since 1988, and as the official release states:

Before running GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations, Campbell held various positions in field sales, retail incentives, marketing and customer relationship management. He has played important roles in many product launches including the Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Colorado and Corvette.

So the new head of Chevy is no outsider, but Dewar’s firing seems more performance-based than a means to culture change per se. If GM is going to turn around, the bowtie brand will need to reverse the steady slide in sales illustrated below. And what of the fact that DeWar only had five months to turn Chevy around? When Ed Whitacre was asked, how long managers had to show improvement before getting sacked, Whitacre simply typed “Not long :-)” The emoticon reign of terror continues…

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Dec 10, 2009
    "Dewar has elected to retire effective April 1, 2010 to dedicate more time to his family and to pursue personal interests." Typical corporate weasel words, what other interests, his family's Scotch business?
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    • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Dec 10, 2009

      I was thinking that exact same thing when I saw the April 2010 date. I'd say Campbell can watch Dewar's tail lights fade starting about now.

  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Dec 10, 2009

    Compare this to Mullaley at Ford. He kicked a few asses, took a few names.....let it clearly be known that there was a new sherriff in town....WITHOUT staging a bloody purge, unless I am failing to recall correctly. Of course, perhaps this is because Big M had more time to work with and develop talent in place. This ought to be interesting, from a management case study standpoint. This purge of W's may result in lots of outsiders; new talent, not experienced in "classical" auto company methods, coming in and taking over key roles. If successful, it might disprove the old thinking that functional managers at OEM's must come from a background in the company where they "learned the business" from the bottom up, due to the massive amount of detail in the industry. If unsuccessful, it'll either be because he ran out of time, or that he purged too much "tribal knowledge" from the company....

  • Buickman Buickman on Dec 10, 2009

    why can't they simply say that the fool was fired? he is a pompous, isolated, know nothing buffoon who never should have risen beyond lower level management, a perfect example of an incompetent failure only retained by paternalism in spite of his worthless existence. this firing shows me a lot about Whitcare. don't care what anybody says, he knows a snake and how to kill it. thanks Ed!

  • Nevets248 Nevets248 on Dec 10, 2009

    "Hummer" Docherty and her minions will soon have a constant 'look over my shoulder' mindset about them.