Today GM announced that Robert A. Lutz, 76-year-old GM Vice Chairman for Global Product Development and visionary behind breakthrough vehicles like the Pontiac Solstice, will retire at the conclusion of 2009. In the meantime, effective April 1, he will serve GM as Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor. In this new role, Lutz will give input into GM global design and product initiative, continuing to report to Wagoner.
GM's board of directors elected Thomas G. Stephens to step into Lutz' role, serving as the new Vice Chairman for Global Product Development effective April 1 of 2009. Currently, the 60-year-old Stephens serves as Executive Vice President for Global Powertrain and Global Quality.
2009 Pontiac Solstice Street Edition
Stephens will continue to have a hand in GM's global powertrain activities; GM also announced a restructuring of its global powertrain group to integrate its activities into respective GM global functions. Stephens responsibilities' will be manifold: global powertrain engineering, global design, product engineering, and program management.
GM's moves to streamline its management functions are emblematic of its attempts to trim costs and present Congress and the American people with a more viable company deserving of tax dollars and federal support.
Of Lutz' impending departure, Wagoner said: “Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001 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 assures us that Stephens has a "passion for great products and vast knowledge of advanced propulsion." Here's hoping he's as much of a car guy as Lutz, and continues to shake up the GM bureaucracy to produce great, competitive new vehicles for the struggling giant.