April 22, 2016 / 2:32 PM / 3 years ago

GM's Steve Girsky, key adviser to CEOs, to retire from board

DETROIT (Reuters) - Steve Girsky, the one-time Wall Street analyst who was instrumental in the emergence of General Motors Co (GM.N) from bankruptcy and the restructuring of the company after a 2009 government bailout, is retiring from the company’s board of directors, GM said on Friday.

General Motors Vice Chairman, interim President of GM Europe and Chairman of the Opel Supervisory Board Steve Girsky waves as he sits inside an Opel Adam car during the start of the car production in Eisenach January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Girsky, 53, will not seek re-election to the GM board when the company holds its annual meeting in June, GM said in a statement.

“Steve brought to the company expertise and skills in a variety of important areas at a critical time in GM’s history,” said Chief Executive Mary Barra.

GM also announced that Jane Mendillo, 57, retired president and CEO of Harvard Management Co, has been nominated to stand for election to the GM board.

Girsky joined the board in July 2009 as the company emerged from a U.S. and Canadian taxpayer bailout and bankruptcy.

He was a key advisor to GM’s chief executives since before the 2009 bankruptcy.

Girsky led restructuring efforts at Opel, GM’s primary brand in Europe, and pushed GM executives to embrace investments in digital technology and mobile internet connectivity that the company has now made central to its product strategy.

In addition to being a board member, Girsky was GM vice chairman from March 2010 to January 2014, heading up GM’s global strategy during that time.

He was the chairman of the Adam Opel AG supervisory board as GM struggled to bring Opel back to profitability at a time when some of his former counterparts on Wall Street thought GM should try to sell the brand.

On Thursday, GM announced that it broke even in Europe on a pretax basis, reversing a loss of $200 million a year earlier, as the company also reported record first quarter pretax profit.

In the company’s statement, Girsky said, “There have been many milestones and accomplishments that I’ve been proud to be a part of along the way, including GM’s emergence from bankruptcy, improved UAW relationship, and the continued comeback of the European business.”

The UAW is the United Auto Workers, the U.S. union that represents about 54,000 hourly GM workers.

Girsky is currently president of New York-based business consultancy S.J. Girsky & Co, a role he returned to in July 2014.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bill Trott

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