GM Names Clarke Head Of Struggling North America Unit

Exec will handle day-to-day dealings of GM's largest sales region.

General Motors Corp. (GM) Tuesday named Troy Clarke president of GM North America and GM group vice president, effective July 1.

Clarke, president of GM Asia Pacific since 2004, will work closely with GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner in implementing the GMNA turnaround plan, and will oversee day-to-day operations of GM's largest sales region. Wagoner has been leading GMNA since April 2005 to develop and drive the region's turnaround strategy.

Clarke, 51, joined GM at the Pontiac division in 1973 and over the succeeding decade held several engineering and manufacturing assignments there. He was named director of manufacturing for GM de Mexico in 1997, and president and managing director in 1998, when he also became a corporate vice president.

In 2001, Clarke was appointed vice president of labor relations in Detroit, and he became group vice president of manufacturing and labor relations in 2002. He served as GM's chief negotiator during the 2003 labor negotiations in North America.

"While much work remains to be done, we have reached several significant milestones in our turnaround plan over the past year," Wagoner said. "This is the right time to turn the region's day-to-day operations over to Troy, who has the experience and skills to help lead the GMNA team as it continues this unprecedented restructuring. Troy has a track record of success in general management, manufacturing and labor relations in the United States and globally, which will be invaluable in his new assignment."

David "Nick" Reilly, a GM vice president and president and CEO of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. in South Korea, will replace Clarke as president of GM Asia Pacific and will become a GM group vice president, also effective July 1. Reilly also will succeed Clarke as chairman of the GMDAT Board of Directors. A replacement for Reilly as CEO of GMDAT has not been announced.

Also, Vice Chairman John Devine, 62, who announced in December that he planned to retire this year, has decided to make his retirement effective June 1, Wagoner said.

Last week, shares of GM reacted favorably to reports that the company may be seeing a higher number of full-time workers accept its retirement package. The world's largest automaker said back in March it would offer buyouts or early retirement incentives to all of its 113,000 hourly workers as it tries to shed costs as part of a huge restructuring program.

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