Former GM vice chair Girsky to retire from automaker’s board
General Motors Co.’s former vice chairman who helped turn the company around following its 2009 bankruptcy is retiring from the board of directors.
The Detroit automaker said Friday that Steve Girsky, 53, will not seek re-election to the GM board at its annual shareholders meeting in June. The automaker said Jane Mendillo, retired president and CEO of the Harvard Management Co., has been nominated to the board. Mendillo, 57, is up for election at the June 7 meeting at the company’s Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit.
Girsky joined GM’s board in July 2009 following GM’s bankruptcy and its emergence as a new company. The former Wall Street analyst served as vice chairman of the company from March 2010 through January 2014 and as a senior advisory in the first half of 2014. During that time, Girsky oversaw the company’s corporate strategy and new business development, global product planning, OnStar and GM Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm.
He also was tapped by former GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson to run ailing GM Europe and head the Adam Opel Supervisory Board for a time as it worked to establish a turnaround strategy for its Opel brand.
Girsky was the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, or VEBA’s nominee to the board as the New GM was created. The VEBA owns a significant amount of GM stock and has the right to nominate to the board. In 2014, retired UAW Vice President Joe Ashton joined the GM board as the VEBA nominee.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said Girsky contributed significantly to the company and board over the past seven years.
“Steve brought to the company expertise and skills in a variety of important areas at a critical time in GM’s history,” Barra said in a statement. “He has helped guide GM as we continue on our path to deliver long-term growth and sustained shareholder value that will benefit our owners for years to come.”
Girsky, who has his own advisory firm in New York, could not immediately be reached for comment.
“The GM that exists today is a much different and stronger company than it was when I first joined the board seven years ago,” Girsky said in a statement. “There have been many milestones and accomplishments that I’ve been proud to be a part of along the way, including GM’s emergence from bankruptcy, improved UAW relationship, and the continued comeback of the European business. Also, the speed in which GM is actively positioning itself to capitalize on the innovations that are shaping the future of personal mobility — specifically in the areas of electrification, 4G connectivity and autonomous — is a testament to its strong leadership team.”
Mendillo from 2008 to 2014 led the Harvard Management Co., which manages Harvard University’s more than $37 billion endowment fund. Prior to that, she served as chief investment officer at Wellesley College.
“Jane brings to the board a demonstrated track record of performance through her decades of investment management experience,” Barra said in a statement. “She has generated proven results through periods of rapidly changing market conditions. Her experience and leadership will be especially valuable as we continue to strengthen our investor outreach and engagement.”