GM TAPS MORE KEY PLAYERS IN MASSIVE RESTRUCTURING: DEALERS UNSURE HOW MILLIONS IN REGIONAL ADS WILL BE AFFECTED

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General Motors Corp. has named the next tier of key players in the massive reorganization of its sales, service and marketing staff in the U.S.

Separately, Rick Wagoner, president of GM's North American Operations, is holding a series of regional dinner meetings with key dealers to discuss the restructuring. He told dealers at last week's meeting in Detroit GM hasn't yet determined how the new structure will affect regional dealer advertising.

GM confirmed the new keepers of the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac-GMC brands formerly overseen by divisional general managers.

They are Roger Adams, currently brand manager of Buick Regal; Karen Francis, former Chevrolet Venture brand manager promoted in December to regional manager of Chevy's Rocky Mountain office; Lynn Myers, Pontiac category director; Kurt Ritter, brand manager of Chevrolet's Silverado; and John Smith, VP-general manager of Cadillac.

Mr. Smith will handle Cadillac. GM will later announce the brands the others will handle.

MIDDLEBROOK WEARS TWO HATS

As division marketing general managers, the executives will report to John Middlebrook, who since GM's Aug. 4 restructuring announcement is wearing two hats: VP-general manager for Chevrolet and general manager of vehicle brand marketing.

Ms. Francis and Mr. Adams both joined GM as outsiders in March 1996. Ms. Francis had been VP-marketing at writing-equipment maker Berol Corp., and earlier was assistant brand manager of Crest toothpaste at Procter & Gamble & Co. Mr. Adams had been VP-marketing, research and development at Keebler Co.

ROBERTS ALSO SEES DOUBLE

Roy Roberts also is wearing two hats: VP-general manager of Pontiac-GMC and general manager of field sales, service and parts.

Reporting to him as regional general managers will be Pete Gerosa, now general manager-sales and service at Cadillac; Douglas Herberger, president of GM Japan; Larry Hice, general manager-sales and service at Buick; Mike O'Malley, marketing service manager of Pontiac-GMC; and William Powell, general manager-sales and service at Oldsmobile.

Each will oversee one of five new regions. GM hasn't announced their regional assignments, said James Farmer, group director of communications for sales, service and marketing at GM's North American Operations.

Separately, Chevrolet dealers said they were told last week by the division to make no media commitments for the first quarter of 1999 for their regional ad groups. Dealers wonder whether their regional agencies will be replaced by a central or regional media buying shop. At stake is tens of millions of dollars in ads.

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