John G. Smale, the former Procter & Gamble Co. chairman who took over as nonexecutive chairman of GM in 1992, relinquishes that seat to Mr. Smith but stays on as "lead director" and chairman of the board's new executive committee. In a New York Times article, Mr. Smale says he favors keeping the chairman's slot separate from management but other directors wanted the job returned to management's responsibility. "The board knew how I felt. The board is totally comfortable with what we've done, and that has to reflect a different philosophical point of view than I have," he tells the Times.