Home / Auto News / News article: Bob Lutz to Retire at End of '09 - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Feb 09 2009, 11:28 AM

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Bob Lutz with the Cadillac ConverJ at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show

Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of Global Product Development at General Motors, is stepping down from his current position at the company and will retire at the end of 2009. According to a press release posted on the company’s website, Lutz, one of the best known names in the auto industry, will continue on at GM as Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor.

In his transitionary role, Lutz will give, “strategic input into GM’s global design and key product initiatives until his retirement at the end of 2009,” and will report to CEO Rick Wagoner until that time.

Tim Stephens, the current executive vice president of Global Powertrain and Global Quality, will replace Lutz. Stephens will also continue to oversee quality issues at General Motors.

Before joining GM in 2002, Lutz held many key roles at many major manufacturers including being a VP at Ford, an Executive VP at BMW and an executive at Chrysler.

“Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001,” Wagoner said, “and he’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here. His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us.  I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together. I’m looking forward to Bob’s continued contributions to GM for the remainder of 2009 – and I know the impact of his efforts leading GM global product development will continue for years to come.”

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Tom Stephens discussing the future of hybrid technology at General Motors

As for Stepehs, Wagoner had this to day: “Tom Stephens is the perfect guy to take the reins of GM’s global product development. “e’s had extensive experience in virtually every aspect of our global product development activities. With his 40 years at GM, Tom has an extraordinary understanding of our products and our organization, and is highly respected worldwide.  I’m confident that with Tom’s passion for great products and vast knowledge of advanced propulsion, he will continue to raise the bar in executing outstanding GM cars and trucks.”

Official release after the jump:


Bob Lutz moves to Senior Advisor Role; Will Retire at End of 2009
Tom Stephens Becomes Vice Chairman – Global Product Development

DETROIT – GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner today announced that Robert A. Lutz, GM Vice Chairman – Global Product Development, will transition to a new role effective April 1, 2009 as Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor.  Lutz, 76, will provide strategic input into GM’s global design and key product initiatives until his retirement at the end of 2009. He will continue to report to Wagoner.

Wagoner also announced that effective April 1, 2009 the GM Board of Directors elected Thomas G. Stephens, Vice Chairman – Global Product Development, reporting to President and Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson.  Stephens, 60, is currently Executive Vice President, Global Powertrain and Global Quality.  In this new assignment, Stephens will maintain his responsibility for overseeing GM’s global quality activity.

Concurrent with this appointment, GM is restructuring its global powertrain group to integrate powertrain functional activities into their respective global GM functions.  Accordingly, in his new role, Stephens will have responsibility for global powertrain engineering, in addition to global design, product engineering, product planning and program management.  Powertrain manufacturing will report to Gary Cowger, Group Vice President of GM Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations.  Other staffs that support the GM Powertrain organization will be integrated into their respective global functions.  These moves represent another important step in GM’s restructuring initiative to create a leaner, more efficient organization.

“Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001,” Wagoner said, “and he’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here.  His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us.  I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together,” Wagoner added.  “I’m looking forward to Bob’s continued contributions to GM for the remainder of 2009 – and I know the impact of his efforts leading GM global product development will continue for years to come.

“Tom Stephens is the perfect guy to take the reins of GM’s global product development,” Wagoner continued.  “He’s had extensive experience in virtually every aspect of our global product development activities. With his 40 years at GM, Tom has an extraordinary understanding of our products and our organization, and is highly respected worldwide.  I’m confident that with Tom’s passion for great products and vast knowledge of advanced propulsion, he will continue to raise the bar in executing outstanding GM cars and trucks.