GM hires P&G CCO Craig Buchholz as global comms SVP

He replaces Tony Cervone, who is retiring.

Craig Buchholz is joining GM as comms head.
Craig Buchholz is joining GM as comms head.

DETROIT: Procter & Gamble comms head Craig Buchholz is joining General Motors as SVP of global comms, replacing Tony Cervone.

Buchholz steps into the role April 1 and will report to GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra. In a GM release, Barra thanked Cervone, who is retiring, and noted that he has played a significant role in positioning the company for long-term success.

Procter & Gamble VP of global communications and advocacy Damon Jones is stepping into the chief comms role at the CPG giant. 

"I'm thrilled to hand over the reigns to [Jones], who will take this to the next level at P&G, building on what we've achieved over the past six years," Buchholz told PRWeek.

Jones becomes P&G’s comms head on April 1 and he will report to chief brand officer Marc Pritchard.

“Communications has a unique ability to shape what we do and how we do it in a way that builds trust that is so critical for brands and companies,” said Jones. “I look forward to elevating our contribution to the business in that manner.”

He said P&G will take time to assess what further changes may be needed to the comms department.

“[Buchholz] is a dynamic leader and has elevated comms to new levels of credibility within P&G,” added Jones. “I look forward to continuing that upward trajectory.”

Buchholz joined P&G in October 2014 as VP of global comms. The company combined its brand and company communications teams into a single, integrated global organization in 2018, placing Buchholz in the position of CCO and global healthcare communications lead.

Buchholz became the first CCO at P&G since Chris Hassall left the company in 2012.

During his time at P&G, Buchholz led the company’s comms through a variety of challenging product and corporate issues, according to a GM release.

Prior to P&G, Buchholz was VP of global comms at Merck and before that he was VP of global comms at Johnson & Johnson, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“I am retiring and exiting stage left,” Cervone told PRWeek. “I don’t plan to do any consulting. I plan to enjoy my time and retire and rest and rejuvenate and do things that will feed my soul.”

Cervone noted GM was aware from the time he was hired that he had a five-year plan, after which he planned to retire. He will actively stay onboard until May.

“I am very confident in the combination of [Buchholz’s] abilities and the ability of the organization to continue to thrive under his leadership,” Cervone said.

Reflecting on the state of the automobile industry, Cervone said the next five years are going to be “definitional in terms of GM’s ability to lead in the transformation of the automobile and mobility businesses.”  

Cervone has been GM’s SVP of global comms since 2014. He joined the company amid its response to a crisis caused by a decade-long delay in recalling Chevrolet Cobalts with malfunctioning ignition switches.

Cervone previously served as EVP of group communications for Volkswagen Group of America. He was also SVP of communications at United Airlines, working on the company’s merger with Continental Airlines.

Before that, Cervone worked in a different role at GM, as VP of global communications strategy and operations and led the automaker’s international comms operations in Europe. Prior, he was VP for communications at Chrysler Group.

Editor's note: This article was updated on March 18 with comment from Jones and Cervone.

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