Chris Perry, whom Joel Ewanick lured away from Hyundai Motor America last year to run Chevrolet, will now take Ewanick's job running General Motors' U.S. marketing. Ewanick was kicked upstairs to be global chief marketing officer last month. The shift is one of several changes in divisional and corporate marketing suites, part of an effort to define the brands and make GM competitive globally.
The company has also created a global chief technology officer position to "bring greater focus and urgency to developing leading edge technology for all General Motors vehicles," per a release. Thomas G. Stephens, currently vice chairman of global product operations, will fill that spot.
Perry will now be charged with keeping Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands in their respective "swim lanes" (to use one of Ewanick's terms). Replacing him at Chevrolet will be Rick Scheidt, currently executive director of Chevrolet product marketing.
OnStar executive Linda Marshall has also been promoted after a brief tenure. Marshall, who joined GM in November, has been tapped to lead the GM telematics and in-vehicle entertainment division starting next month. Marshall will succeed Christopher Preuss -- who, per a release, is leaving the company to launch a communications consultancy practice.
"Over the past year, [Preuss] was instrumental in helping create a clear vision and strategy for aligning OnStar with GM infotainment plans and entering the retail market," said Stephen Girsky, vice chairman, GM corporate strategy and business development, in a statement.
Marshall, who reports to Girsky, was hired to be executive director for OnStar global business strategy and development. Before that she was the COO of Revol Wireless. Girsky himself comes from outside GM. He was formerly a Morgan Stanley auto analyst who began working for GM as a senior advisor in 2009 and was promoted to his current vice chairman spot last March.
At the divisional level, the company is also splitting up Buick and GMC marketing duties. Until now, they have been part of a channel that includes Pontiac, which the company dissolved in 2009. John Schwegman, currently U.S. VP of Buick-GMC marketing, is being named U.S. vice president, GMC marketing. Tony DiSalle, currently product and marketing director, Chevrolet Volt, is named U.S. VP of Buick marketing.
"These moves support our plans to continue building very clear and distinct swim lanes for our four brands, "said Ewanick, in a statement.
GM product communications spokesperson Patrick Morrissey says Buick-GMC are still together as a sales distribution network -- including as a dealer channel. "The change we announced yesterday (driven by Joel) was that we would split the two brands in terms of our internal structure from a marketing and advertising standpoint. Joel felt strongly the brands are completely distinct and unique from a consumer/brand positioning standpoint, so we should manage them independently," he says.