DETROIT – General Motors Co plans to shift its global Cadillac chief back to focus full time on his former lobbying position in Washington as the No. 1 U.S. automaker deals with fallout from defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, a person familiar with the plans said on Thursday.
Robert Ferguson, who was named senior vice president in charge of global Cadillac in October 2012, was sent last month by Chief Executive Mary Barra to Washington to steer the response to the crisis, which resulted in the recall of 2.6 million vehicles and the filing of numerous lawsuits against the company. The person asked not to be identified discussing the company's plans.
GM has not said that the job in Washington is permanent or if it removed his responsibility for Cadillac.
"We are drawing people from all parts of our business to help guide our response to the current recall," GM spokesman Greg Martin said. "Bob is a part of this team and is helping lead our communications and government relations response to the recall."
Ferguson joined GM in 2010 and was previously vice president for global public policy. He was responsible for GM's federal, state and international government relations and public policy activities in the United States and around the globe. He was replaced by Selim Bingol, who left GM this week.
Before joining GM, Ferguson was a senior strategist at communications firm Public Strategies and spent 10 years as an executive at AT&T.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Barra planned to hand the Cadillac job to Uwe Ellinghaus, the brand's top marketing chief and a former executive with Germany's BMW. A Cadillac spokesman said no changes have been made to how the brand operates.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Andrew Hay)