Automakers need e-commerce professionals to design and run their new Internet operations. That is a far better idea than simply shifting an executive from another part of the business to look after the specialized, New Age world of on-line business.
General Motors has put a senior American executive named Mark Hogan in charge of its assorted Internet activities. These range from adding e-mail and other services to GM's basic OnStar in-car communications product, to links with parts suppliers. But the decision feels wrong.
Hogan has been steadily rising in the GM ranks for 15 years - running Brazilian operations and small-car manufacturing in his most recent assignments. Taking an executive with such vital experience and turning him into an Internet overseer seems a misuse of talent.
Hogan can probably handle the job. But in a world overflowing with e-commerce wizards, and one decidedly lacking in executives with Hogan's auto experience, why ask him to try?
Why not hire an Internet expert instead and make him report to Hogan?
The lesson applies to all automakers as they prepare to transform themselves into 'dot com' marketers. GM and others need to use their automotive specialists in the automotive industry.