General Motors (NYSE: GM) today announced the appointment of Mark Reuss, 54, as company president, effective immediately. The news comes as GM reports a mediocre -1.6% decline in sales for 2018 and is in the process of trimming the organization. Reuss who currently leads the Global Product Group and struggling Cadillac replaces Dan Ammann. Reuss will now assume responsibility for the Quality organization as well. The size of his empire won’t be known until GM updates its employment figures after the exit packages, layoffs and firings.
Reuss’s father – Lloyd Reuss – also served as President of General Motors Corporation from 1990 until his firing in January 1993 after 35 years at was then clearly the dominate U.S. automaker. GM has recovered since 1991 and a humiliating taxpayer-subsidized government bailout after the biggest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history filed in 2009. (Treasury No Longer Owns GM Common Stock, Taxpayers to Turn Profit from Controversial TARP Bailouts, Treasury Makes $245 Million in Added Profits from TARP)
However, the lingering question whether a GM-lifer can reform a still struggling automaker that is currently restructuring once again remains to haunt Reuss. (General Motors Revises 2015 Strategy to Slash Costs and Streamline Engineering as Market and Competition Toughen)
Like his father, Mark Reuss held a variety of senior level positions at GM. Reuss, a mechanical engineer, began his GM life as a student intern in 1983. He has held numerous engineering and management positions, including chief engineer of GM’s large luxury vehicles.
He created and led the GM Performance Division in 2001 while serving as executive director of Architecture Engineering. In this role, he was responsible for GM’s racing vehicles including the well-reviewed V-Series Cadillac and SS Chevrolet special editions. In 2005, he was appointed executive director of GM’s North America Vehicle Systems and Architecture, and a year later was named executive director of Global Vehicle Integration, Safety and Virtual Development.
A lifelong “car guy,” Reuss is a certified industry pool test driver on the North Course of the Nürburgring Motorsport Racetrack in Germany, and is licensed for FIA C and IMSA Road Racing. His first car was a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, which he bought and restored himself. He most infamous racing moment occurred at the Chevrolet-sponsored Detroit Grand Prix last year when he put the Corvette Pace Car into the wall at a wet pit exit.
Reuss once kicked the author’s butt at a closed track in New York State. It’s surprising when the North American president of an auto company appears at a race track to drive a car he worked on as an engineer. It’s embarrassing, though, when he’s as fast, well frankly faster, than any hot shoe out there. I was looking at Reuss’s taillights – in the distance all the way round. (see AutoInformed on Driving the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe)
So, the question remains at AutoInformed whether Reuss will help GM find a new, clear road as it transforms into a mobility company or lead it to another spectacular shunt and crash?
“Mark has played a critical role in leading the development of the company’s award-winning vehicles while transitioning his team to prepare for growing electrification and autonomous technologies,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
Reuss added responsibilities for Cadillac and global portfolio planning in June 2018. Since then, he has been building an integrated product development and Cadillac organization to support an accelerated product and technology launch cadence and the brand’s global growth plans. Cadillac will be introducing a new vehicle every six months through 2021.
Reuss has also been leading the claimed transformation of the company’s global product development workforce and processes to drive world-class levels of engineering in advanced technologies and improve quality and speed to market. He is doubling the resources allocated to electric and autonomous vehicle programs in the next two years.
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