GM Fires Caddy Execs, Hires Former AT&T PR Boss As Leadership Purge Continues

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gm fires caddy execs hires former at t pr boss as leadership purge continues

Recently-reassigned Cadillac boss Bryan Nesbitt isn’t the only GM exec paying the price for weak Cadillac sales, as Automotive News [sub] reports that GM has terminated three other Caddy executives.

Cadillac’s Steve Shannon and John Howell were dismissed Monday, said eight sources familiar with the moves. Jay Spenchian, an executive director who worked on Cadillac and other brands, was also let go, the sources said.

Longtime GM executive and Cadillac sales manager Ed Peper will stay on at Cadillac, and will report to Kurt McNeil, who will take over as Cadillac’s head of sales and service. This is the second time Peper’s career has moved backwards in recent months: prior to becoming Cadillac’s sales manager, he had served as the general manager of the Chevrolet brand. More proof that it doesn’t pay to be a lifer in Ed Whitacre’s new GM.What it does pay to be is a longtime friend and colleague of Whitacre’s. With GM lifers being purged right and left, Whitacre has reached into his past at AT&T to recruit his former PR boss Selim Bingol to take over as GM’s head of communications. Bingol will take over for Chris Preuss, who will be taking over GM’s OnStar business. Most recently Bingol had served as a Senior VP at GM roster agency Fleishman-Hillard. In GM’s release on the matter, Whitacre explains some of the benefits of hiring his phone-biz crony and former speechwriter:

Selim brings a wealth of experience to this position and his deep and diverse background will serve us well as we accelerate our efforts to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles. I have worked with Selim over the years on several complex communication issues and he has my trust and respect.

One thing he doesn’t bring: knowledge of the car business, something Whitacre has admitted to struggling with. Of course, the PR side of the business isn’t quite as dependent on industry-specific experience, but the fact that Whitacre went with a former colleague adds to the growing perception that he is running GM as his personal fiefdom.
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  • Andy D Andy D on Mar 06, 2010

    Trust me, getting your execs from ATT's labor pool doesnt thrill me. ATT management suffers from the old boy network too.

  • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Mar 07, 2010

    "Trust me, getting your execs from ATT’s labor pool doesnt thrill me. ATT management suffers from the old boy network too." Your flippant assertion flies in the face of much industry recognition of the diversity of AT&T's executive management, which includes several awards from minority organizations.

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