Robert A. Lutz.
February 9, 2009.
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner today announced that Robert A. Lutz, GM Vice Chairman – Global Product Development, will transition to a new role effective April 1, 2009 as Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor. Lutz, 76, will provide strategic input into GM’s global design and key product initiatives until his retirement at the end of 2009. He will continue to report to Wagoner.
Wagoner also announced that effective April 1, 2009 the GM Board of Directors elected Thomas G. Stephens, Vice Chairman – Global Product Development, reporting to President and Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson. Stephens, 60, is currently Executive Vice President, Global Powertrain and Global Quality. In this new assignment, Stephens will maintain his responsibility for overseeing GM’s global quality activity.
Concurrent with this appointment, GM is restructuring its global powertrain group to integrate powertrain functional activities into their respective global GM functions. Accordingly, in his new role, Stephens will have responsibility for global powertrain engineering, in addition to global design, product engineering, product planning and program management. Powertrain manufacturing will report to Gary Cowger, Group Vice President of GM Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations. Other staffs that support the GM Powertrain organization will be integrated into their respective global functions. These moves represent another important step in GM’s restructuring initiative to create a leaner, more efficient organization.
“Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001,” Wagoner said, “and he’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here. His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us. I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together,” Wagoner added. “I’m looking forward to Bob’s continued contributions to GM for the remainder of 2009 – and I know the impact of his efforts leading GM global product development will continue for years to come.
“Tom Stephens is the perfect guy to take the reins of GM’s global product development,” Wagoner continued. “He’s had extensive experience in virtually every aspect of our global product development activities. With his 40 years at GM, Tom has an extraordinary understanding of our products and our organization, and is highly respected worldwide. I’m confident that with Tom’s passion for great products and vast knowledge of advanced propulsion, he will continue to raise the bar in executing outstanding GM cars and trucks.
Robert A. Lutz.
Robert A. Lutz was named General Motors vice chairman of product development on September 1, 2001. On November 13, 2001, he was named chairman of GM North America and served in that capacity until April 4, 2005, when he assumed responsibility for Global Product Development. He also served as president of GM Europe on an interim basis from March to June 2004.
Prior to rejoining GM as vice chairman, Lutz was chairman and chief executive officer of Exide Technologies. He served as chairman until his resignation on May 17, 2002, and as a member of Exide's board of directors until May 5, 2004.
Lutz joined Exide after a distinguished career with the former Chrysler Corporation from 1986 to 1998, where he reached the position of vice chairman. Lutz also served as president and chief operating officer, responsible for Chrysler's car and truck operations worldwide.
Lutz led all of Chrysler's automotive activities, including sales, marketing, product development, manufacturing, and procurement and supply. He began his service with Chrysler in 1986 as executive vice president and was shortly thereafter elected to the Chrysler Corporation board. His 12 years with the company are chronicled in his 1998 book, Guts: The Seven Laws of Business That Made Chrysler the World's Hottest Car Company. Guts was revised and updated in 2003 and retitled, Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of our Time.
Before Chrysler, Lutz spent 12 years at Ford Motor Company, where his last position was executive vice president of truck operations. He also served as chairman of Ford of Europe and as executive vice president of Ford's international operations. From 1982 to 1986, Lutz was a member of Ford's board.
Lutz began his automotive career in September 1963 at GM, where he held a variety of senior positions in Europe until December 1971. For the next three years, he served as executive vice president of sales at BMW in Munich and as a member of that company's board of management.
He serves as chairman of The New Common School Foundation and as a trustee of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. He is also a member of the board of trustees for the U.S. Marine Corps University Foundation and vice chairman of the board of trustees for the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas.
Lutz received his bachelor's degree in production management from the University of California-Berkeley in 1961, where he earned distinction as a Phi Beta Kappa. He received a master's degree in business administration, with highest honors, from the University of California-Berkeley in 1962. He received an honorary degree of doctor of management from Kettering University on June 21, 2003, and an honorary doctorate of law from Boston University in 1985. The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Foundation named him the recipient of its 2006 Manufacturing Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the development of the automotive industry.
He also served as a jet-attack aviator in the United States Marine Corps from 1954 to 1965 and attained the rank of captain. Lutz was born on February 12, 1932, in Zurich, Switzerland.
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