DETROIT: Tom Kowaleski, VP of General Motors' North America communications, will become the new head of all GM communications effective January 1.
teve Harris, GM's widely respected VP of communications, has decided to retire at the end of this year. Harris, 57, had contemplated retiring last year, but was asked by GM's CEO to stay on.
Kowaleski, 51, has spent 24 years in the auto industry, working with GM, DaimlerChrysler, American Motors, and Renault.
Harris has had a major influence on US auto PR. He is widely credited with bringing excitement to PR efforts during auto trade shows, and has been a mentor to many noted names in auto PR. At the start of the decade, people who had trained and worked under him headed PR at rivals Ford and Chrysler.
Harris took over GM's PR in February 1999 after 11 years at Chrysler. Kowaleski soon followed Harris to GM, and had long been mentioned as a possible successor.