On April 1, 63-year-old Tom Stephens (the vice chairman, chief technology officer and former head of global product operations of General Motors Co.) is set to retire after having been with the automaker for 43 years. GM said that it will name a successor later. Since Feb. 1, 2011, Stephens had taken on the responsibilities of a new position -- GM's chief technology officer. He oversees the integration of advanced technology in GM cars and light trucks. From April 2009 through February 2011, Stephens has served as the vice chairman for global product development.
Stephens was the successor of Bob Lutz as the automaker’s top executive for global product development, a role that Mary Barra used to have. Before Stephens was the top product chief of GM, he was the group vice president of GM's global powertrain operations from July 2001 to March 2008. After this period, he got the promotion to executive vice president of global powertrain and global quality.
In a statement, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson described Stephens as “an engineering icon” within the company and the industry. He said that everyone gained from Stephens’ talent and contributions as the result of his “passion, wisdom, and commitment to product excellence.” In 1969, Stephens became a part of GM as an hourly employee at its Chevrolet engineering center in Warren, Mich.
Stephens was entered as part of the student co-op program of the University of Michigan. He had different engineering positions at the Cadillac Motor Car division and he also held several engineering leadership roles with the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac division. This was before he was named chief of the recently formed GM Powertrain Division.