Akerson Is Giving GM’s Corporate Structure a Makeover

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chevroleteurope/

General Motors’s (NYSE:GM) CEO Dan Akerson knows he can’t carry the U.S. automaker’s recent success on his back alone. That’s why he is in the midst of implementing a new strategy that he began back when he was first appointed to the position of CEO in 2010: divide and conquer. 

His recent company reorganization efforts highlight his eventual goal of allowing GM to realize the most effective corporate structure. But Akerson recognizes the necessity of small, yet poignant, company moves, and that’s why he is making his promotions slowly, and thoughtfully.

His latest decision reflects that, as Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that U.S. sales chief, Alan Batey, has been promoted to lead the Chevrolet brand globally. Akerson wants GM to revolve around global functions rather than regional controls, and that’s where Batey’s new position comes in. Maryann Keller, an industry consultant explains, “GM needs to keep regional leaders on the ground who understand local markets and tastes while having an overarching brand leader who can devise a strategy that applies to multiple countries.”

GM’s restructuring still has a ways to go, but this latest appointment adds one more person to the executive operating committee who will report directly to Akerson, and reflects just one more step in GM’s progress of meeting certain mid-decade goals that Akerson has erected. He aims to stem losses in Europe, boost North American operating margins, and increase sales in China.

And Akerson’s strategy also illustrates a departure from GM’s old way of doing things, a hallmark that Bloomberg describes as: “Trying to solve problems with a knockout punch.” That was the pinpoint of the automaker’s strategy back in 1992 when it produced a 3-page organization chart that detailed how it planned to revamp its North American operation.