DETROIT -- General Motors is moving North American manufacturing chief Gerald Johnson to a newly created "operational excellence" post reporting directly to CEO Mary Barra. He will be replaced by former labor negotiator Cathy Clegg, GM said.
Johnson, 51, will "focus on process discipline, improvement and waste elimination," GM spokesman Bill Grotz said on Monday. He will oversee the company's broader deployment of Design for Six Sigma, a business process used across industries to improve product quality and better meet customers' needs.
Johnson's new post was announced internally last week, GM said today.
GM has said all of its engineers will be certified at the highest level of Design for Six Sigma by the end of 2015, one of the steps the company is taking to improve safety in the wake of its ignition switch recall.
Clegg, 54, will become the third executive to serve as head of GM's North American factories in about one year.
Johnson also will serve on GM's executive operations committee, a group of about 20 of the company's top decision makers, mostly composed of Barra's direct reports.
Johnson has been the company’s North American manufacturing chief since July 2013, one of the busiest vehicle-launch periods in GM's history. He oversaw the rollout of GM's 2014 redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the company's largest vehicle program and its first redesign of the trucks in seven years.