DETROIT -- Tom Stephens, the General Motors Co. executive who was tapped two years ago to replace Bob Lutz as product development chief, has been appointed to a newly created post: global chief technology officer.
GM said the move will “bring greater focus and urgency to developing leading edge technology.” Stephens, 62, will oversee GM's research-and-development operation as part of the new position.
Stephens, a 42-year GM veteran, most recently served as vice chairman of global product operations. GM said a new head of worldwide product development will be named “soon.”
The move highlights CEO Dan Akerson's goal of sharpening GM's focus on technology as a competitive advantage. Akerson, who took over as CEO Sept. 1, wants to aggressively expand the technology behind the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, for example.
“Customers today expect and deserve the very best technology from their GM vehicles,” Akerson said in a statement on Wednesday. “Tom will make sure that GM technology keeps up with our customers and keeps ahead of our competitors.”
The announcement marked the third round of GM executive changes within 24 hours. On Tuesday, GM said Linda Marshall will replace the departing Chris Preuss as president of OnStar. GM also elevated Chris Perry to vice president in charge of U.S. marketing and said Rick Scheidt will succeed Perry as head of Chevrolet marketing.
Stephens will remain on GM's executive committee and continue to report to Akerson. The change takes effect Feb. 1, as do the moves announced Tuesday.