GM’s Silence on Corvette’s Management Change is Deafening


Corvette's Tom Wallace

This is an open post to General Motors, and I’m going to be blunt about what I have to say.

Tom Wallace, Performance Vehicle Line Executive and head of the Corvette team retires suddenly after a 38 year career at GM and you can’t issue one official press release thanking him for his service?

Gene Stefanyshyn is unofficially confirmed by sources to become the new head of the Corvette program and you can’t put out a statement welcoming him to the fold?

You have a whole communications department and can’t issue one statement concerning huge changes in your “Halo” car’s leadership? That’s pretty pathetic…

Wallace joined GM as a cooperative student with Buick in 1970. He finished his career as head of the Corvette program – a job description that we think should officially contain the phrase “greatest job in the world”. We don’t know the circumstances of why he left, and perhaps its none of our business, but you owe it to Tom, the customers who purchased Corvettes during his tenure and the enthusiast community in general to show a little class by thanking him for giving his entire working life to you.

It’s also come out through unofficial sources that Wallace’s replacement is Gene Stefanyshyn, the global vehicle line executive for rear wheel drive vehicles. How about an official press release welcoming Gene to the great community that is Corvette?

This is only the 5th leadership change in 56 years of Corvette history – it’s kind of a big deal to be mentioned in the same breath as Zora Arkus-Duntov, Dave McLellan and David Hill. An official statement would also be nice to clarify exactly where Corvette stands. Is Gene moving to Performance Vehicles or is Corvette moving to Rear Wheel Drive?

News is bad out there. We get it. Sales of Corvettes were down 52% last month. We hear the C7 program is now on an indefinite hold with nothing new expected until 2014. Rumors, innuendo and speculation is endless. With the financial crisis that threatens GM and talks of bailouts and bankruptcy, Corvette owners are concerned about the future direction of the car we love so much and a company that we respect.

It’s been exactly three weeks since the Wallace announcement. During that time, GM issued a press release regarding changes in management in the Service and Parts Operations (SPO) following the retirement of Doug Herberger who was with the company for 35 years. You owe the same to Tom Wallace and Gene Stefanyshyn.

Update: GM issued an offical statement today: Crystal Windham Named General Motors First African American Female Director of Design. Congratulations, Crystal. I would not have heard about your promotion without the wonderful staff at GM’s communications department doing their job!

Back me up on this my friends. Leave a comment with your thoughts about GM’s handling of the management changes. You may also offer thanks to Tom for his service or welcome Gene to club.

Corvette Responsibilities Shift to GM’s Gene Stefanyshyn
Corvette Chief Tom Wallace Set To Retire

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  1. Be patient! This wasn’t an intentional GM snub! These are tough times at GM. Everyone knows that. If you live anywhere near the Metro Detroit area, the news centers around bankruptcy and the merger with Chrysler. I think GM media relations have their hands full with every day business operations without having to worry about giving Tom his due. Besides that, there are other Corvette guys in addition to Tom that need to be recognized in the Corvette community on their decision to retire, namely John Heinracy and Randy Wittine. I’m sure that everyone will be given their props in due time!

  2. @Bill: Thanks for getting the word out there.

    @Voice of Reason: GM Media Relations has issued 2 press releases since Wallace’s retirement regarding personnel changes. I do agree about giving John Heinracy and Randy Wittine their due, alhough I am not as familiar with Randy’s career as I should be.

    Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming!

  3. Sorta agree with your thinking but will add that GM is fighting for it’s very life as we email one another. All former employees have been called and urged to call/write/email their US representatives encouraging a bail out. I have very mixed emotions on this one and therefore will hold my comments to the specific issue at hand……………..
    Maybe there is no need for an announcement, if no Gm or if no Chevrolet Division, why announce succession. These are very troubling times and I am very concerned for our nation, our companies, our employees, and our customers…….God help us!

  4. the communication to dealers has been awful too. I heard from a GM guy that was there for 36 years…took a buy out, they met him at a car dealership and handed him his check IN THE PARKING LOT, collected his ID’s, etc and left…

    How empty is that, looks like a lot of these guys have lost their compassion, very sad indeed.

    They have left a lot of people hanging and that’s sad because a huge focus has been taken away from the true value story of many GM products right now.

    Keith I too sent emails to many of the Gm Corvette people…have heard NOTHING….as I expected. There are few good guys left and a few that have left in which I communicated and I wish them the very best and thanked them for their service.

    Thumbs up as the saga continues

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