Detroit, Michigan – Robert Lutz, General Motors’ vice-chairman of global product development, has announced that he will retire from the company at the end of 2009.
In the interim, the 76-year-old Lutz will move to a new role, effective April 1, 2009, as vice-chairman and senior advisor. He will report directly to GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner.
Lutz’s current position will be filled by Thomas G. Stephens, currently the executive vice-president of global powertrain and global quality. Stephens will continue to maintain his responsibility for overseeing GM’s global quality activity while in his new role.
General Motors has announced it is restructuring its global powertrain group, integrating powertrain functional activities into their respective global GM functions. The moves represent a step in GM’s restructuring initiative to create a leaner and more efficient organization.
Lutz was named GM’s vice chairman of product development on September 1, 2001, and on November 13, 2001, was named chairman of GM North America. He served as president of GM Europe on an interim basis in 2004, and assumed responsibility for global product development in 2005.
Lutz began his automotive career in 1963 with General Motors, where he held a variety of senior positions in Europe until 1971. For the next three years, he served as executive vice-president of sales at BMW in Munich and was a member of the company’s board of management. He also spent 12 years at Ford Motor Company, where he served as executive vice-president of truck operations, as chairman of Ford of Europe, and as executive vice-president of Ford’s international operations.
From 1986 to 1998, Lutz was with the former Chrysler Corporation, where he held the positions of vice chairman, president and CEO, responsible for Chrysler’s car and truck operations worldwide. Prior to rejoining GM as vice-chairman, he was chairman and CEO of Exide Technologies.
Born on February 12, 1932 in Zurich, Switzerland, Lutz also served as a jet-attack aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1954 to 1965, and attained the rank of captain.
“Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001, and he’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here,” Wagoner said. “His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us. I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together. I’m looking forward to Bob’s continued contributions to GM for the remainder of 2009, and I know the impact of his efforts leading GM global product development will continue for years to come.”