GM Says LaNeve is Out, Docherty In

By Brendan Moore

10.08.2009

Susan Docherty GM media realtions shotGM 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.

Mark LaNeve GM Media relations shot

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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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. I’m sure Lutz stepped all over him and LaNeve got out of there while he still could, with his reputation intact.

  2. Hope Docherty has a thick skin.

  3. So the person that was in charge of the Buick ads that Lutz hated is now in charge of GM sales?

    Am I missing something here?

  4. Good riddance.

  5. stifler’s mom?

  6. No doubt that Mark LaNeve had a very difficult job, but based on results, he wasn’t able to point to a lot of successes. Falling sales, falling market share, etc. did nothing under his watch but probably accelerate. It may have not been his fault entirely, but he was the guy in charge of sales and marketing.

    An interesting legacy that he leaves is the employee pricing for everyone concept. THAT one sure left a hangover after it finally ended, and by the way, did no favors to the brands under his stewardship. It just taught consumers to wait for the deal in GM showrooms rather than presenting a message of the good products that many of the vehicles have been over the past few years.

  7. Stifler’s mom is right. I’d go for a test drive.

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