tinkers further with its finance team, appointing financial-veteran James A. Davlin to the post of vice president-finance and treasurer, effective Oct. 3.
Davlin, 47, joins GM from farm machinery and equipment giant Deere & Co., where he most recently served as vice president-corporate strategy and business development and oversaw merger and acquisition activities and Deere’s business plan out to 2018.
The 174-year-old Deere mirrors GM in many ways. Deere has been in growth mode recently, expanding aggressively into new markets such as China and India. It also has undertaken in recent weeks the greatest new-product push in its history, according to financial filings, putting it in a position to take advantage of expected global growth in the sector.
GM also wants to expand its business in Asia and roll out a slew of new products globally to take advantage of an expected uptick in vehicle demand once the world’s current financial woes lessen.
“As treasurer, much of his immediate focus will be on maintaining our fortress balance sheet, de-risking our pension plans and achieving investment-grade credit ratings,” says GM Chief Financial Officer Dan Amman.
“His experience as a finance leader in other large, global companies makes him well suited to contribute to our efforts to improve our operational leverage, drive global growth and achieve long-term profitability for GM,” Amman says in a statement today.
Since emerging from bankruptcy two years ago, GM successfully has sought to carry a balance sheet heavy on cash and light on debt. Its biggest challenge is stocking its underfunded pension plans.
Earlier this week, financial analyst Moody’s revealed it was considering upgrading GM’s credit rating, based on improvement in the auto maker’s financial condition and a new tentative 4-year contract with United Auto Workers union. The contract is seen as neutral to GM’s operational costs.
Davlin’s appointment fills a post led by a pair of assistant treasurers since Amman took over at CFO April. Amman held the position in place of Walter Borst, who took over management of GM’s retirement and pension plan assets at GM Asset Management, formerly known as Promark Global Advisors.
Davlin joined Deere as vice president and treasurer in 2007 from Eli Lilly, where he spent 10 years in finance. From 1988 to 1997, he was in the finance department at Proctor & Gamble.
Davlin holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and philosophy from Wabash College, as well as an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Duke University.