General Motors to hire new head of communications

CHICAGO: General Motors is searching for a new head of worldwide communications, retaining the New York-based executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to look at both internal and external candidates.

CHICAGO: General Motors is searching for a new head of worldwide communications, retaining the New York-based executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to look at both internal and external candidates.

The auto giant has not set a deadline to replace the former vice president of communications, John Onoda, said a GM spokesman.

Onoda left the post in September to assume a similar position with Visa USA, the US arm of Visa International. Onoda had been with GM only two years and was said to be interested in returning to the San Francisco area where Visa is based. Onoda's previous career included a spell at Levi's in California.

The GM spokesman would not comment on whether a list of candidates had been compiled at this point. However, an inside source said that two strong internal candidates would be Bill O'Neill, executive director, communications of North American operations; and Rich Nelson, general director of communications strategies. O'Neill has served on the North American Operations Strategy board, a key decision-making body within GM. Nelson is an ex-First Chicago communications professional.

The head of worldwide communications will report to Harry Pearce, vice chairman of GM. Pearce is expected to return before Christmas, following a recent bone marrow transplant.

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