Dan Ammann, an even-keeled New Zealander, was just five years ago one of the many thirty-something Wall Street investment bankers, making himself useful inside the complex corporate deals and restructuring that Morgan Stanley deals on a daily basis.

He made a rather surprising career change and had a swift ascension, rising to hold the top operations position at the largest US automaker – General Motors. He only answers to chief executive officer Mary Barra and directs GM’s operations around the world. His president function also has two crucial tasks in the near future: turnaround the dwindling Chevrolet and Cadillac brands and also bridge the gap between the traditionally split regional business operations. These have been recurring tasks across the numerous generations of GM executives, with the vast majority also having much more auto experience. Amman was until 2014 the chief financial officer, so his financial background landed him without much operational background.

Amman, 43, is tasked to lead the bosses of GM’s main regions – North and South America, Europe and its International Operations division, which heads China among others. Global Chevrolet chief Alan Batey, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, product planning and GM Financial are all under his rule. He’s been very busy these past 15 months, from visiting plants in China to driving around racetracks in the UK or appearing in dealerships in Dubai. Most of his international work focused on taking the US dealership network as a template and the projecting it onto the regional marketing and sales operations – which historically were run independently from each other. He also believes the truth has to be said about the brand identity amalgam Chevrolet has developed in recent decades, or the fact that GM needs to “work” harder to take Cadillac from “the beginnings of a legitimate luxury business,” to the levels it once called natural.

Via Automotive News


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