Vauxhall parent GM parts company with global comms and policy chief

General Motors communications leader Selim Bingol has left the car manufacturer as it deals with a public outcry over its ten-year delay in recalling Chevrolet Cobalts with malfunctioning ignition systems, according to numerous reports.

Selim Bingol: GM announced yesterday he was leaving to pursue other interests, effective immediately
Selim Bingol: GM announced yesterday he was leaving to pursue other interests, effective immediately

General Motors executive director of communications and investor relations Randy Arickx is leading the automaker’s communications in the interim after Selim Bingol, SVP of global comms and public policy, left the company yesterday.

Greg Martin, executive director of communications at GM, said the company will name a permanent replacement for Bingol at a later date.

"We’re conducting an external search, and the search will take as long as it is required to find the right person," he explained.

Martin said he will continue to handle media and corporate communications, while executive director Terry Rhadigan will continue to lead product communications and director Katie McBride manages internal communications.

Arickx "will serve as the [communications] leader on an interim basis," added Martin.

GM announced on Monday that Bingol was leaving the company to pursue other interests, effective immediately. 

He joined the automaker in 2010 as SVP of global communications after serving as SVP of corporate communications at AT&T. The public policy portion of his role was added two years later. Bingol also previously served as an SVP and senior partner at FleishmanHillard in one of various positions he held at the Omnicom Group firm.

He oversaw GM’s corporate, global products, and brand communications in his most recent job, as well as its federal, state, and international government relations and public policy work. Bingol was also chairman of the GM Foundation.

His departure comes as the automaker deals with the public outcry over its decade-long delay in recalling Chevrolet Cobalts with faulty ignition switches. The issue has been linked to 13 deaths.

However, Martin told the Associated Press that Bingol’s departure was not a result of the recall crisis, saying Barra, who has been in the CEO role for three months, was making her own hires for key positions.

Last week, GM placed two engineers on paid leave. Their roles were connected to the hold-up in issuing a recall after discovering ignition-switch issues in 2004.

A GM statement about Bingol’s departure noted that he "guided the communications around GM’s 2010 initial public offering, the largest in history at that time, as well as several new products that have received widespread acclaim for quality, styling and performance."

"We appreciate [Bingol’s] service and for his helping tell the GM story during one of the most exciting periods in the company’s history," Barra said in a statement.

The carmaker also said on Monday that Melissa Howell, SVP of global human resources, was leaving the company to pursue other interests. It named John Quattrone to replace her in the role.

The Detroit Free Press has also reported that former GM top lobbyist and Cadillac division leader Bob Ferguson is expected to take on more DC-based responsibilities.

This article first appeared on the PRWeek US website.

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