General Motors PR operation continues reorganization at the hands of VP Harris

DETROIT: Continuing his efforts to streamline General Motors' massive PR operation, Steve Harris, VP of communications, has instituted yet another round of staff and organizational changes.

DETROIT: Continuing his efforts to streamline General Motors' massive PR operation, Steve Harris, VP of communications, has instituted yet another round of staff and organizational changes.

DETROIT: Continuing his efforts to streamline General Motors' massive PR operation, Steve Harris, VP of communications, has instituted yet another round of staff and organizational changes.

Harris has combined GM executive communications with its news desk and is searching for a director to oversee the newly combined functions.

The move made sense, he said, because executive communications, which handled media relations for senior company officials, often had to work with the news desk, which handles media calls.

Tom Pyden, who had been at Chevrolet, has become general director of corporate communications, overseeing speechwriting and message strategy for GM's top four executives.

Chris Preuss, who had overseen Cadillac's PR, has become staff director of corporate technology communications, with the mission of raising the company's tech profile.

Johannes Reifenrath, who had previously handled PR for Pontiac, has been named staff director of a new area called product life-cycle communications.

This group coordinates PR for a given GM model from its inception through its introduction and throughout its life, Harris explained. Such efforts were not coordinated in the past.

Harris has been working to streamline GM's 450-person PR group since joining the automaker in early 1999.

GM traditionally had communication staffers reporting to various division heads and operating units. Now, virtually everybody in North America is under corporate communications, with the exception of Saturn, GMAC and OnStar.





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