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Whitacre Names New North American Head For GM

Fri, 12/04/2009 - 3:52am
Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr. said Friday he is putting engineering chief Mark Reuss in charge of GM's North American operations in a management shakeup.

Whitacre, in an address to employees Friday, also said he is recombining sales and marketing, placing them under Susan Docherty. She became head of sales when former CEO Fritz Henderson separated the roles of sales and marketing.

Reuss recently was named head of engineering, and before that ran the company's Holden operations in Australia.

Whitacre said Bob Lutz, who had been in charge of marketing, will remain a vice chairman and be an adviser on global product development. He also will help Whitacre learn about the business.

Whitacre made the announcements in a broadcast to GM employees worldwide. He told the workers he wants them to take risks, make decisions and be entrepreneural. If they take reasonable risks, they need not fear being fired for them, Whitacre said.

"We want you to step up. We don't want any bureaucracy," Whitacre said. "We're not going to make it if you won't take a risk and step up and be held accountable for it."

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