Cowger to serve as Grand Marshal for Pontiac Excitement 400. DETROIT, Mich., April 27, 2002 - Gary L. Cowger, president of General Motors North America and group vice president in charge of GM Manufacturing and Labor Relations, will preside over...
Cowger to serve as Grand Marshal for Pontiac Excitement 400.
DETROIT, Mich., April 27, 2002 - Gary L. Cowger, president of General Motors North America and group vice president in charge of GM Manufacturing and Labor Relations, will preside over next weekend's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway as grand marshal.
Cowger, who assumed his role as president on November 13, 2001, is responsible for GM North America. In addition, he functions as the global process leader for manufacturing. He has been group vice president in charge of GM Manufacturing and Labor Relations since January 1, 2001. He is a member of the Automotive Strategy Board and chairman of the North America Strategy Board.
"I certainly appreciate the unique opportunity to serve as grand marshal over the Pontiac Excitement 400," said Cowger. "General Motors is proud of its rich motorsports heritage and continues to value racing as an important component. Next weekend's event is a great showcase for GM, as well as our Pontiac and Chevrolet brands."
Prior to being named president of GM North America, Cowger had been group vice president - labor relations since November 1, 1998, and chairman and managing director of Adam Opel AG from June 19, 1998.
Cowger was named vice president, manufacturing, General Motors Europe, on January 1, 1998, and placed in charge of the overall coordination of all Opel/Vauxhall vehicle manufacturing, assembly, and component operations in Europe, which comprise 14 plants in ten countries. Prior to that he had been president and managing director of General Motors de México since September 1, 1994. He was elected a vice president of General Motors Corporation effective October 1, 1994.
Cowger began his General Motors career in 1965 as a General Motors Institute (GMI) co-op student at the Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac Division plant in Kansas City, Kansas. He held a variety of engineering and manufacturing assignments of increasing responsibility at the plant. In 1978, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a GM Sloan Fellow and upon his return was appointed superintendent of the Kansas City plant.
In 1979, he transferred to Oldsmobile Division in Lansing, Michigan, as a general superintendent at the Lansing Car Assembly plant. A year and a half later, Cowger was transferred to the GM Assembly Division (GMAD) St. Louis, Missouri, assembly plant as production manager. He was appointed plant manager of GMAD's Wentzville, Missouri, assembly plant in 1982. In this assignment, he was responsible for the building, staffing, and start-up of the new assembly plant. After a successful start-up, Cowger was named complex manager of the Lordstown assembly and stamping facilities four years later.
Cowger was appointed manufacturing manager of Cadillac Motor Division in 1987. He was instrumental in helping Cadillac win the coveted Malcolm Baldrige Award for quality. In 1990, he became executive director of advanced manufacturing engineering for the Advanced Engineering Staff at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. In 1993 he was appointed executive-in-charge of the North American Operations Manufacturing Center. The following year, he was named to the GM de México position.
Cowger was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on April 18, 1947. He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from GMI in 1970 and a master of science degree in management from MIT in 1978.
He is a board member of Adam Opel, AG; Saturn Corporation; NUMMI; GM of Canada; and GMAC; and he has served on the board of Saab. He is currently on the board of trustees at Kettering University, the governing board of Leaders for Manufacturing at MIT, and the board of the College for Creative Studies. In addition, he serves on the board of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The Pontiac Excitement 400 marks the 11th event of the 36-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule and is annually one of the series most competitive events. The defending champion of the event is Pontiac driver Tony Stewart.