GM's new wave of leadership changes focus on bolstering customer experience

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. is continuing to transform how it runs its business, focusing this time on improving the consumer experience across all aspects of the company. 

To align with this transformation, GM is making some senior leadership changes.

GM posted a loss of less than $800 million for the second quarter, rescinded most of its salary cuts and signaled that the second half of the year could prove surprisingly resilient.
  • Travis Hester, president and managing director of GM Canada, will take on a newly created position as vice president of customer experience. Hester's team will be focused on enhancing customer engagement across the company.
  • Scott Bell, vice president of GM Canada Marketing, Sales and Service, will replace Hester as president and managing director of GM Canada.
  • Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet truck marketing since March 2014, has been appointed to vice president of GM Canada Marketing, Sales and Service, replacing Bell. Sandor’s replacement will be named later.
  • Santiago Chamorro, vice president, Global Connected Customer Experience, will lead the newly formed Global Connected Services organization, focusing on business leadership and management of the company's subscription services franchise.
  • Deborah Wahl is now GM's global chief marketing officer. She has been the chief marketing officer for the Global Cadillac brand since March 2018.

The automaker's latest round of leadership changes, effective Thursday, emphasize CEO Mary Barra's goal of creating a world with "zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion" by strengthening the company's relationship with customers. GM believes that improving the customer experience will generate more loyalty to its brands and help grow the business.

"We need to create a seamless experience with all of our customer interactions and present a one GM approach," spokesman Dan Flores said. "We need to make doing business with GM much simpler and easier from stem to stern. We need to be the best or among the best in any industry when it comes to creating delightful customer experiences that keep people coming back."

Earlier this year, GM promoted Mark Reuss to president of the company, replacing Dan Ammann, who became the head of GM Cruise LLC. Alan Batey, executive vice president of North America, retired in April and Alicia Boler Davis, executive vice president of global manufacturing, left the company.

GM shuffles executive ranks after two exits

Batey was replaced by Barry Engle, previously the head of GM International who now is executive vice president and president of the Americas. Gerald Johnson, executive vice president of global manufacturing, replaced Davis.

Another part of the GM transformation was to cut the salaried workforce by 15%. The company also plans to cut its executive workforce by 25% and is moving to idle four U.S. plants.

Twitter: @bykaleahall