Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

GM, Names Boss for North America in Major Shakeup

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

GM, Names Boss for North America in Major Shakeup

Article excerpt

WARREN, Mich. (AP) _ General Motors Corp. President Jack Smith revealed what he called the "worst-kept secret of the summer" Tuesday, announcing a new head for the company's domestic vehicle business.

The world's largest automaker also moved to put its parts operations on a more independent footing.

G. Richard Wagoner Jr. will oversee the automaker's biggest unit as president of North American Operations, known as NAO. It builds and sells cars and trucks in the United States, Canada and Mexico and has accounted for about 60 percent of GM's annual revenues.

Wagoner, 41, was chief financial officer and head of worldwide purchasing.

Two executives were promoted to replace him. NAO sales and marketing chief J. Michael Losh, 48, will be chief financial officer and Harold R. Kutner, who directed purchasing for GM's Automotive Components Group, moves up to head worldwide purchasing.

The GM board approved the changes at a regularly scheduled meeting Monday. While announcement of the appointments was delayed until Tuesday, news media reports in recent weeks had predicted they would be made.

Smith said his own job, given to him in a 1992 boardroom coup in which outside directors deposed top managers, would change significantly and concentrate on "growth and globalization" across the company.

"Basically, I'm backing away from the day-to-day business of NAO," he said during a news conference at GM's management center in Warren.

When he became chief executive officer, NAO was piling up losses _ about $17 billion between 1990 and 1992. The unit turned a profit in the first quarter of this year and is expected to finish 1994 in the black.

Smith also announced several other appointments approved Monday by GM's board and said the company's $25 billion components group, which sells three-quarters of its products to other GM divisions, would become a separate business unit and actively pursue more outside customers. …

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