Create a free account to continue

GM Promotes Financial Chief To President, COO

Automaker elevates vice chairman and chief financial officer Fritz Henderson to the post of president and chief operating officer.

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp. promoted Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson to the post of president and chief operating officer.

Henderson, 49, will be replaced as CFO by Ray Young, 46, who previously was group vice president for finance.

Young will become executive vice president and chief financial officer. Both promotions are effective immediately, the company said Monday.

CEO Rick Wagoner said the company needed to bolster its management ranks because it has so much going on across the globe.

''Besides our massive business transformations in the U.S. and Europe, we're experiencing explosive growth in emerging markets — in some cases, in countries where GM doesn't have a long history,'' Wagoner said in a statement. ''The industry is in the midst of the largest technology transformation it has ever faced. And GM continues to implement a truly global automotive operating structure.''

Henderson and Young will report to Wagoner, and four regional presidents will report to Henderson, including Troy Clarke in North America; Carl-Peter Forster in Europe; Maureen Kempston Darkes in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East; and Nick Reilly in the Asia-Pacific region.

GM's group vice presidents of global purchasing and manufacturing also will report to Henderson, but Vice Chairman for Global Product Development Bob Lutz will continue to report directly to Wagoner.

The last time GM had a president was in 2003 when Wagoner held that position along with the CEO's post. Wagoner also was the company's last chief operating officer, when he served as president and COO from 1998 to 2000.

Henderson was credited by United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger with playing a key role in landmark contract agreements between the union and parts supplier Delphi Corp. He also played a key role in the historic pact between GM and the UAW that shifted billions in retiree health care costs from the company to a trust fund.

GM has been troubled by accounting problems in recent years. In its 2007 annual report filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said the SEC continues to investigate its financial reporting concerning pensions, as well as transactions between it and Delphi. The company also said its internal financial controls were not effective.

But spokesman Tony Cervone said the problems began before Henderson became CFO in 2006, and he has done a lot to correct them.

Henderson started with GM in 1984 as a senior analyst in the treasurer's office. He had been vice chairman and CFO since January 2006.

The company also named Thomas Stephens, 59, an executive vice president, reporting to Henderson. Stephens had been group vice president of global powertrain and quality.
More in Automotive