OSHAWA -- Scott Bell will be the new president and managing director of General Motors Canada, replacing Travis Hester, effective immediately, the company said Thursday.
Bell is currently vice-president, sales, service and marketing at GM Canada.
Hester, 47, has been named to the newly created position: global vice president of customer experience. Hester will be responsible for maximizing customer engagement across the company, GM CEO Mary Barra said in a memo, reporting to both Barry Engle, executive vice-president and president, GM North America and GM President Mark Reuss, according to a GM Canada statement.
Bell will also report to Engle.
Prior to his current position leading sales, service and marketing for GM Canada, Bell was the director of U.S. sales operations for Chevrolet, where he was responsible for leading the brand’s business planning, incentives strategy, customer experience and training, retail advertising and dealer relations.
Hester has been president and managing director of GM Canada since April 2018. He was at the helm when the automaker announced plans to end vehicle assembly at its Oshawa, Ont., plant. It was a move that led to a protracted battle with Unifor, which represents about 2,600 workers at the facility.
GM subsequently agreed to keep the plant open as a parts plant, which will preserve about 300 of the unionized jobs. He also presided over the Oshawa Transformation Agreement, which details how and when production at the assembly plant will end, as well as the creation of the test track for advanced vehicle testing that is slated to open there. That agreement also outlines enhanced supports for the roughly 2,600 Oshawa Assembly employees who will lose their jobs at the end of 2019.
The moves were two of many GM made Thursday.
The automaker named Cadillac marketing chief Deborah Wahl, an automotive veteran who also has spent time in the fast-food and homebuilding industries, as its global chief marketing officer, a position that hasn't been filled since 2012.
Wahl, 56, joined Cadillac in March 2018 after three years as CMO of McDonald's USA. She was CMO of Chrysler in 2007-08 and previously held marketing positions with Lexus, Toyota and Lincoln-Mercury.
Barra told employees about Wahl's promotion in an internal memo Thursday that listed five other executive shuffles, all effective immediately.
"By aligning marketing across GM under Deborah's leadership, we will build stronger brands while ensuring more effective, efficient and agile customer engagement," Barra said in the memo.
GM's last CMO was Joel Ewanick, who was fired by then-CEO Dan Akerson in 2012 over a costly Chevrolet sponsorship deal with the Manchester United soccer team. Chevy CMO Tim Mahoney, who retired March 1, oversaw much of the company's marketing duties after Ewanick's departure.
Wahl will report to Engle. The marketing heads at Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, OnStar and GM Financial will jointly report to Wahl and the heads of their respective business units, Barra said. Melissa Grady, director of Cadillac media and performance marketing since September, will replace Wahl as Cadillac's CMO.
Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet truck marketing since March 2014, will replace Bell.
Santiago Chamorro, vice president of global connected customer experience, will lead a newly formed organization called Global Connected Services, which will focus on business leadership and manage GM's subscription services business.