NEW YORK—Gary Grates, whose employee communications firm Boxenbaum Grates was acquired by GCI Group in 1998, has been named global head of internal communications at General Motors.
The move is an evolutionary one, since Grates has been taking increasing responsibility for GM’s internal communications over the past 18 months, as part of an innovative client-agency relationship between GCI and GM, which allowed Grates to spend the majority of his time working onsite with GM in Detroit.
He will move from president to chairman of GCI Boxenbaum Grates through March 31, 2003, at which point he will become full-time with GM. It is anticipated that GCI will continue as an agency of General Motors.
“Our agreement with General Motors represents a unique career opportunity for Gary and also reflects the kind of flexibility that GCI is open to as we strive to deliver the highest level of client satisfaction” says Bob Feldman, president and CEO, GCI Group. “As a pioneer in the area of internal communication, Gary has been a great asset to our growth and we are excited by the possibilities of this continually evolving relationship he is leading with GM.”
As chairman of GCI-BG, Grates will devote 25 percent of his time counseling clients and prospects, working with current GCI-BG staff, and helping fuel new growth. A search for new leadership in GCI’s change practice is underway with the goal of complete transition by the end of the first quarter.
“General Motors, GCI and Gary Grates have had an innovative and productive working relationship for the past five years,” says Steve Harris, GM’s vice president of communications. “Effectively communicating with our employees and linking them more closely with the company’s business results has become one of our highest communications priorities.
“With Gary now able to provide his unique leadership and vision on a full time basis and with the continuing support of the GCI team, we are confident we can equip our employees to help grow GM’s position as the biggest vehicle manufacturer in the world, but also establish it as the best.”