By Gary S. Vasilash
John F. Smith worked at General Motors at the same time that John F. Smith worked at General Motors.* The latter was to become GM CEO. The former was appointed by the latter to a number of executive positions within GM.
Perhaps the most notable was in 1997, when he was named head of Cadillac.
Things weren’t great at that brand back then. Hard to believe, but there was something that is now intrinsic to Cadillac that was absent: the Escalade, the massive truck-cum-SUV that has had visual presence on the road for a little more than two decades now.
The Escalade was to come to be under John Smith’s period at Cadillac, helped into existence by the other John Smith, who was known as Jack.
John Smith talks about his career at Cadillac in this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” as well as a book he has recently had published about some of his adventures in the auto industry, Fin Tails: Saving Cadillac, America’s Luxury Icon (see how important Escalade was/is?).
Also on Smith’s resume are positions including vice president of Planning at General Motors International Operations in Zurich as well as president of Allison Transmission. Which is to say that he has a broad perspective on the auto industry, one broader than just Cadillac.
On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Smith spends the hour talking with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Doron Levin, who, among other things, writes about the auto industry at Saving Alpha and me.
And you can see it here.
*Given that “Smith” is the most common surname in the U.S., and “John” has been in the top 10 until 1987, this isn’t exactly surprising.