WASHINGTON: GM Defense has named David Albritton as president, lead executive, and GM.
Based in Washington, D.C., Albritton stepped into the role on Tuesday. The last person to lead GM Defense was CEO Charles Freese.
"I’m out of the communications world now and over into general management," Albritton said.
Albritton added that he plans to focus on assessing the business, including personnel and resources, and roll out a strategy for engaging stakeholders in the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and around the world.
Albritton was previously executive director of product development and international comms at GM Defense. Prior, he was GM’s executive director of global product comms. GM Defense launched this year, according to Automotive News. The automaker previously ran a defense unit, but sold it to General Dynamics for $1.1 billion in 2003.
"What we’re doing is leveraging our experience in electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles, high-voltage batteries, electric drive systems, autonomous vehicles, off-road mobility, and heavy truck manufacturing and offering those capabilities to militaries around the world," Albritton said.
The leadership change at GM Defense is taking place as GM implements plans to idle factories in the U.S. and Canada while reducing its salaried workforce by 15%, or about 14,000 employees in response to changing consumer habits.
"There will be a number of people that will end up leaving GM who have tremendous capabilities who will be available for comms jobs, with a lot of experience," Albritton said.
Albritton is the latest prominent PR executive to take over a general management role. Home Depot promoted former communications leader Stacey Tank to VP of home services in June. Meanwhile, former Target CMO Jeff Jones became president of ridesharing at Uber, then CEO of H&R Block.
"It’s exciting and daunting at the same time, as it’s the first time in 25 years I haven’t worked in comms," Albritton said. "Obviously, as a lead executive, comms will be a cornerstone in everything I work on, because internal and international comms is important to the success of business and I understand that inherently. This will be a different challenge and I’m looking forward to it."
Before joining GM, Albritton was VP and chief communications officer at Exelis, one of two companies spun off from ITT. Exelis was later acquired by Harris. Prior to that, he was media relations director at Raytheon, comms SVP at the Caraway Group, and VP for field and media comms for United Way of America.
Albritton also had PR roles at HP and Sears and was a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy.