GM drives to unify PR team with in-house restructure

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.

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

operating-group heads.



’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

to accomplish.



’When I joined 13 months ago, the lack of credibility senior management

bestowed on communications people was pretty obvious,’ Cervone

explained.



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.



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