DETROIT: Hoping to streamline its mammoth in-house operation, General Motors is reorganizing its PR staff.
DETROIT: Hoping to streamline its mammoth in-house operation,
General Motors is reorganizing its PR staff.
The restructuring will result in a greater number of PR pros reporting
to top company voice Steve Harris, rather than to various
’The goal is getting folks more integrated and getting a more holistic
approach to communications,’ Harris said. ’The changes should enable
everyone to view themselves as part of the communications staff.’
Affected by the proposed moves are communications staffers in GM’s car,
truck, power train, technical center, metal fabrication, operations and
specialty parts groups - about 200 people, Harris estimated. None will
be asked to relocate.
The changes, expected to be implemented around June 1, are part of an
ongoing effort by Harris to better coordinate GM’s PR efforts. In the
past, for example, communications pros working in different groups and
locations often scheduled conflicting events (such as new car previews)
because they didn’t know what others in the company were doing.
GM executive director of corporate communications Tony Cervone said
Harris has succeeded in convincing senior GM management of the
importance of PR - something which previous PR heads had never been able
’When I joined 13 months ago, the lack of credibility senior management
bestowed on communications people was pretty obvious,’ Cervone
While Harris is straightening communications reporting lines, he has not
questioned the PR tactics used by local staffers, thus allowing them to
respond to individual market conditions. The freedom, according to
Cervone, is appreciated.
Harris’ long-term communications goal is to build up the GM corporate
brand, hoping to create a ’halo effect’ that will keep customers buying
the company’s various car and truck brands.