DETROIT: Tony Cervone, one of the top names in Detroit's automotive
circles, has yo-yoed back to General Motors for a third stint, after
leaving Chrysler for the second time.
Cervone, 38, has been appointed GM's executive director of executive
communications. The new position reunites him with Steve Harris,
currently GM's VP of communications, for whom Cervone has worked several
times, first at Chrysler and later at GM.
Cervone had been VP of communications at Chrysler until last November,
when he lost his job after just two months as part of a German routing
of US executives.
Cervone's first appearance at GM came two years ago when he followed
Harris there. As GM's VP of communications, Harris had appointed Cervone
executive director of corporate communications.
Cervone now joins three other executive directors reporting to Harris:
Bill O'Neill for communications operations, Edd Snyder for corporate
communications and Tom Kowaleski for product/brand communications.
In his new position, Cervone will oversee the communications and media
relations needs of GM's top officers, including chairman Jack Smith,
president and CEO Rick Wagoner, vice chairman Harry Pearce, and vice
chairman and CFO John Devine. He also will oversee financial and
corporate international communications, the corporate speechwriting
office and team with Gary Grates - who heads GM's internal
communications - on leadership communications.
Reporting to Cervone will be Tom Pyden, staff director of corporate
communications and editorial services, and New York-based Toni
Simonetti, staff director of financial and international communications.
Brian Akre, director of executive communications and news relations will
report to both Cervone and Snyder.
'We are pleased to have Tony back at GM, where his media and leadership
communications skills, and extensive knowledge of the industry will add
to an already strong team,' said Harris.
From what Harris told PRWeek after Cervone's most recent departure from
Chrysler, his return to GM was almost preordained: 'I'd take him back in
a minute,' he said.
WHO'S IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT?
FEBRUARY 1999: GM hires Steve Harris from Chrysler as VP of
communications. DaimlerChrysler promotes Steven Rossi from Mercedes Benz
North America to replace Harris
MARCH 1999: Tony Cervone and Tom Kowaleski move from Chrysler PR to
SEPTEMBER 2000: Rossi resigns from DaimlerChrysler and Cervone returns
to Chrysler as VP of communications
OCTOBER 2000: Edd Snyder is promoted to executive director of corporate
communications at GM, replacing Cervone
NOVEMBER 2000: Cervone is axed at Chrysler in routing of US executives
by German DaimlerChyrsler management. Ken Levy, a former European Ford
and GM PR executive, is hired as VP at Chrysler, replacing Cervone
MARCH 2001: Cervone returns to GM as executive director of executive