GM Says LaNeve is Out, Docherty In
By Brendan Moore
GM announced that Mark LaNeve, VP of Sales, has resigned, effective October 15, which means “now”. GM CEO Fritz Henderson says that LaNeve is also leaving the auto industry.
GM also announced a short time later that Susan Docherty, 46, currently head of Buick-GMC, will succeed LaNeve as head of sales at GM.
Henderson told reporters that LaNeve’s replacement needed to come from within the company because of the complexity of the position. Docherty has a good resume, having been named head of Buick-Pontiac-GMC in June 2008, and previous to that, was regional general manager for GM’s Western Region. In that position, she managed sales, marketing, service, parts and distribution for 1000 dealers in 16 states.
Mark LaNeve, however, is no just-got-into-town jasper, having been with GM from 1981 to 1995, when he went to work for Volvo as VP of Marketing. He did well at Volvo, putting up great numbers, and rising to president and CEO by 2000. In 2001, he came back to GM as VP of Sales and Marketing, just in time to take Cadillac off life support. LaNeve worked a miracle with Cadillac, taking a moribund brand and making it relevant, and even, dare I say it, hip.
It’s hard to say at this point that GM traded up in swapping LaNeve for Docherty, but maybe Docherty is the world-beater GM needs at this point. It’s just so hard to say how well she’ll hold up to that level of stress and that level of scrutiny.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to speak with LaNeve a few times over the years, both on and off the record, and he always impressed with his knowledge of the business and competitor’s offerings. I’m sorry to see him go.
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