In what may be the week/month/year’s least surprising move, General Motors has finally replaced its SVP of global policy and communications with a familiar name and face.
Tony Cervone, who most recently served as VP of group communications for Volkswagen, doesn’t just have an extensive history doing PR for car companies–he worked at GM for 10 years along with current CEO Mary Barra, serving in a VP of global comms/strategy role before leaving for an SVP gig at United Airlines.
The strategy behind the appointment is fairly simple: Barra wants old allies to help her right her company’s badly managed response to its not-going-away faulty brake switch scandal.
You may recall that previous comms leader/Fleishmann Hillard vet Selim Bingol got the boot in April after proving that he “never really grew to care for, much less love, the car business” and that his crisis strategy approaches include scheduling a “press event” with hand-picked attendees and no cameras.
Cervone will handle “global products, brands, corporate, social media, support to executives and internal communication”, but he’s not the only old/new face.
Barra also named former ED of HR John J. Quattrone as SVP of global HR and re-appointed Bob Ferguson, who most recently served as head of the Cadillac brand, to his former glory as GM’s top lobbyist.
We don’t want to oversimplify here, but based on the fact that the company agreed to let the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration breathe down its neck as part of its most recent settlement and effectively review its every statement on the matter, we think a dose of radical transparency might be in order.
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