In a difficult industry, with an interesting cast of characters, there are a handful who stand out as people you would like to work with as much as you enjoy tipping a pint with. General Motors has been very fortunate to have one of those guys at its helm since 2010 in Kevin Williams. Having worked for GM since 1983, Williams announced this morning that he is retiring as of December 31.
Few executives I have met over the years are as customer focused as Williams, a guy who routinely visits local dealerships to service his Wife’s car, without announcing himself as The Pres, just so that he can watch the dealers in action and hear customer’s stories. Always open to questions from journalists, Williams is an easy guy to become friends with. I truly wish him well in his retirement.
The next chapter for the company promises to be exciting, as the helm is being handed to a hometown boy. Born in Woodstock, Ontario, Stephen Carlisle began his career at GM as a co-op student in the Oshawa truck plant in 1982. Since then, he has moved up through the ranks, most recently being Vice President of Global Product Planning and Program Management. It is going to be great to watch a Canadian lead General Motors in Canada.
General Motors of Canada press release
OSHAWA, ON, November 20, 2014 — Stephen K. Carlisle has been named president and managing director of GM Canada succeeding Kevin W. Williams, who has led GM Canada since 2010. Williams will assist in the transition through the end of the year.
Williams has elected to retire from General Motors, effective December 31, 2014. Williams joined GM in 1983, holding progressively more senior roles in manufacturing, supplier quality and development, purchasing and service and parts operations in multiple locations around the globe including Canada, Mexico, Germany, and the United States. Immediately prior to his Canadian assignment, Williams served as vice president and general manager, Service and Parts Operations where he led all GM’s global aftersales businesses. Williams also served as president and managing director of GM de Mexico; GM North America vice president of Quality and Global Quality Process Leader; and global executive director, Supplier Quality, Development and Supplier Diversity.
“I’d like to thank Kevin for his leadership and significant contributions throughout a long and distinguished career with GM,” said Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors Company. “In his most recent assignment, Kevin helped rebuild GM Canada after one of our most challenging periods and has established a solid foundation for growth into the future.”
In his new role, Carlisle will report to Alan Batey, president, GM North America, General Motors Company. Carlisle most recently served as the vice president of global product planning and program management based in the United States, and previously, held positions as vice president, U.S. sales operations, responsible for dealer network, retail sales support and fleet & commercial; as well as president and managing director, GM South East Asia Operations in addition to leadership positions in Singapore and China.
“I’m honoured to have the opportunity to return to Canada and build on the winning foundation established by Kevin and the team over the past four years,” said Carlisle. “Having worked intensely on GM’s world-leading new products and technology strategies, I am excited to bring my enthusiasm and product focus to Canada. I look forward to working with our employees, dealers and other key stakeholders to continue to build an organization that puts the customer at the centre of everything we do.”