GM's John Quattrone retiring as HR chief


General Motors’ human resources chief, John Quattrone, has elected to retire this summer, three years after CEO Mary Barra tapped him during the automaker’s ignition-switch crisis to help quash its deep-seated cultural dysfunction.
Quattrone will be succeeded by Jose Tomas, who most recently was chief human resources officer at health insurer Anthem Inc. Tomas, 49, is a former top executive at Burger King Corp., where he simultaneously was its global chief people officer and the president of its Latin American and Caribbean operations.
“Jose brings to GM a strong, well-rounded background with experience managing a complex global employee base in a challenging, results-oriented and diverse environment,” Barra said in a statement Thursday. “He is well-positioned to serve as a strategic adviser as well as lead our global human resource team as we continue to develop our diverse and dedicated work force and transform the company to lead in the future of mobility.”
Quattrone, 64, has been with GM for nearly 42 years, starting at the Fisher Body plant in his hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. His tenure as senior vice president of global human resources, which began in May 2014, coincided with a period of significant work force growth for GM in the U.S. GM is investing heavily in technology such as the self-driving software being developed by GM-owned Cruise Automation, which in April announced plans to add more than 1,100 employees in San Francisco.
“My focus has been to shift to this disruption in the business — we’re very quickly moving into autonomous vehicles and ride sharing and things like that — and to make sure that I get the right resources to be able to support that,” Quattrone said in an interview Wednesday. “We still have to continue the core business, which runs very well, but then obviously get the right resources in for this shifting technology that’s going on in the business.”
GM’s U.S. salaried work force grew 39 percent from the start of 2014 to 2017, according to regulatory filings, while U.S. hourly employment rose 7.8 percent. Globally, GM hired about 9,000 salaried employees last year, Quattrone said, and expects 15,000 to 20,000 salaried workers to retire in the next three or four years, creating a big opportunity for Tomas to bring in people with different skill sets to meet the company’s changing needs.
Quattrone said he had been considering retirement before Barra was named CEO in early 2014 but agreed to remain for a few more years to take the top human resources job, making him responsible for more than 215,000 employees globally. His promotion came several months after GM recalled millions of cars for a deadly defect, igniting a crisis that laid bare long-standing failures at many levels of the automaker.
“We were going through some tough things at the time, and she asked if I would stay on and take this job, and you don’t say no to Mary,” Quattrone said. “It’s been a great run, and I think it’s probably a good time to turn the reins over to somebody else.”
Quattrone plans to retire Sept. 1 to Charleston, S.C., where his wife already lives much of the year and where his adult daughter is a teacher. (His son works in marketing for Chevrolet in Detroit.)
“John has played a crucial role in the development of GM’s senior leadership team as well as serving as a trusted adviser and counselor on many important issues across the company,” Barra said. “In addition, he’s been a big part of the cultural transformation that has occurred at GM over the past several years.”
GM interviewed numerous candidates to succeed Quattrone before settling on Tomas, who left Anthem in April after three years. The company, headquartered in Indianapolis and previously known as WellPoint, had 53,000 employees at the end of last year, about one-fourth as many as GM.
Tomas, who holds degrees in business administration and human resource management from Florida International University, spent nine years at Burger King, playing a “crucial role” in improving the fast-food giant’s culture during several transitions between public and private ownership, GM said. He previously had various human resources jobs at the transportation logistics company Ryder Systems and at Publix Super Markets.
Tomas — GM’s fourth new human resources boss since Barra held that role from 2009 through 2011 — will start at GM on July 1, working with Quattrone for two months before taking over the job.
Fuente: Automotive News