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General Motors Appoints New Global HR Chief, Seeks New PR Head

April 15, 2014

Amid the defective ignition switch recall controversy that it is dealing with at present, General Motors hired a new human resources head. The automaker is also seeking a new public relations chief.

On Monday, GM announced the departure of Melissa A. Howell and Selim Bingol. Howell was Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources; Bingol was Senior Vice President, Global Communications and Public Policy. Both left the company “to pursue other interests.”

Following Howell’s departure, GM named John J. Quattrone as her successor. He previously served as the executive director of Human Resources for Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain organizations. He will immediately take over Howell’s position, which Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra also held until 2011.

Quattrone graduated from Le Moyne College with a Bachelor of Science degree and obtained a Master of Science degree from West Virginia University.

Like Barra, Quattrone is also a GM veteran. The Syracuse, New York native started his career with the Detroit-based carmaker in 1975. He first worked at the Fisher Body Syracuse Plant, and worked his way up by holding a number of positions in human resources and labor relations. He assumed the post of General Director of Human Resources for North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing in September 1996. In 2001, he was appointed GM North America’s Vice President of Human Resources.

Quattrone reported to Barra when she was the head of the global human resources department from 2009 through 2011.

“John brings to the job a deep and rich breadth of experience across all levels of the enterprise,” Barra said in a statement. “This background is invaluable as we create lasting change that puts the customer at the center of how we work and how we measure ourselves going forward.”

Barra also praised Howell, who joined GM in 1990. “Through Melissa’s passion, the values that make up today’s GM are now becoming a central part of how we develop and guide our employees around the world,” the CEO said. “We are deeply grateful for her dedication to GM and all that she did to help build a stronger HR function to support our people and business.”

Bingol joined GM in March 2010 as Senior Vice President, Global Communications. He was also made in charge of Global Public Policy in October 2012. Prior to joining GM, he was Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications at AT&T. He was brought into the company by former GM CEO Ed Whitacre, whom he worked under while at AT&T.

Bingol guided the communications around GM’s initial public offering in 2010.

“We appreciate Selim’s service and for his helping tell the GM story during one of the most exciting periods in the company’s history,” Barra said.

Bingol has no immediate successor. The position he vacated will be filled on an interim basis by GM’s head of investor relations, Randy Arickx.

The automaker insists that the shuffle is not connected to the massive recall debacle.

“It’s not related to the recall,” GM spokesman Greg Martin claimed. “It’s a part of any transition where the CEO makes changes and puts together her leadership team.”

Photo credit: © General Motors CC BY-NC

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