Community Update – Delivering on Our Vision in Canada

2018-06-27


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These first months as President and Managing Director of General Motors Canada have been a whirlwind of activity and new relationships across our business.

I have been very fortunate in my career at General Motors to have worked with some amazing people in almost all aspects of our business and in multiple countries where GM has a presence. When you design, develop and engineer vehicles for different markets around the world, you have the benefit and privilege to experience some of GM’s finest teams, people and organizations in each region. It is very clear in my first months that the GM Canada team is no exception.

GM Canada is perfectly positioned to succeed and thrive in the changing automotive landscape. Every day, we get to come to work and be part of an amazing team of people dedicated to redefining the future of mobility. The Canadian team has embraced our CEO Mary Barra’s vision of creating a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion while relentlessly focusing on creating a better world for our customers.

This past month has given me a good sense of Canada’s rich diversity, talent and “can-do” spirit. My initial meetings have been with our employees, our dealers, our partners at Unifor, elected officials and universities. In addition, I have had some great visits at our manufacturing plants, and our fast-growing network of GM Canada engineering, testing and innovation centres. The more people I meet, the more I am reminded why Canadians have earned such respect around the world for their outstanding talent and entrepreneurial attitude.

One question that continues to be raised is “what are your top priorities for GM Canada?”

The first is to continue to build on our Canadian sales momentum. GM has one of the freshest and most compelling product line ups in the industry. I have seen the future generations of new products in development and I am every bit as excited about our future line up of vehicles, all with industry-leading technology. One of my top priorities will be to work with Canada’s network of dealers to help them serve our customers and expand market leadership for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac across Canada.

A second is to support our outstanding manufacturing team. GM Canada’s assembly plants in Oshawa, Ingersoll and St. Catharines are known throughout GM for their leadership in quality, productivity and innovation. The work done to transform Oshawa Assembly in just six months into one of the very few assembly plants in the world capable of manufacturing both cars and pickup trucks is an amazing effort. To watch new pickups and sedans rolling off the same final assembly line is an impressive achievement for any manufacturer in any country in the world. Our innovative, environmentally leading work at CAMI and St. Catharines is equally as impressive. GM Canada manufacturing is world-class and we need to extend that leadership in the future.

A third priority is to assist in completion of GM Canada’s product development and innovation growth visions. In my prior role, I was ardent supporter of our plan to hire up to a base of 1,000 engineers in Canada and leverage Canada’s rich R&D ecosystem. Our industry is changing and GM Canada is at the forefront. Our partnerships with universities and Canadian start-up companies are enabling us to do something unique and powerful in the product development world. GM has established its position as Canada’s leader for core automotive engineering and testing work. At the same time, we are developing software for self-driving cars and building partnerships that will drive toward a future of electric, self-driving cars and shared mobility. There are few places anywhere where young engineers can learn and master such a rich cross-section of stimulating, game-changing work as part of a rich R&D ecosystem. We will continue to build on that.

It’s an exciting time to be at General Motors and be on the frontlines of the future here in Canada.

I want to thank our team and partners for their warm welcome to my new home. I look forward to working with you, and I will keep sharing thoughts and updates from time to time as we grow the future together.

MEET TRAVIS HESTER

  • Appointed President & Managing Director, General Motors Canada on April 18, 2018.
  • Vice President Global Chief Engineering & Program Management where he oversaw groups of vehicles from inception to launch and beyond.
  • Executive Chief Engineer for Cadillac Premium Luxury Vehicles where he led work on the Cadillac CT6, known for its many advanced technology breakthroughs, including the light weight Mixed Material architecture.
  • Lead engineer on world-first technologies, such as Super CruiseTM and Inside Rear View Camera Mirror (both partly developed in Canada).
  • Joined GM in Australia in 1995; worked in China, the US, South Korea and Europe.
  • Married with two daughters.

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