General Motors Names First Digital Chief As It Accelerates Shift To Software
General Motors this week appointed its first Chief Digital Officer as the automaker deepens its focus on software and services and seeks to double revenue by 2030.
Edward Kummer, who starts Oct. 16, will lead a newly formed team structured around GM’s digital lines of business and accelerate software investments focused on delivering new customer experiences. He reports to GM President Mark Reuss.
During an investor event Wednesday, GM said it hopes to double annual revenue by the end of the decade as it focuses on growth areas including electric and autonomous vehicles, software and services, and new business lines.
The company anticipates software and services will deliver $20 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade, driven by a projected 30 million connected vehicles on the road. Key to that expansion will be a software platform called Ultifi, expected to appear in some vehicles in 2023, that will deliver over-the-air updates and enable a range of apps and services, from safety features and weather apps to potentially using facial recognition to start the car.
Traditional automakers are working to position themselves as technology companies like Apple or Tesla as software-driven services become more important to their growth strategies. While auto manufacturers continue to build and sell physical vehicles, increasingly those vehicles are viewed as a platform for delivering a suite of new tools and experiences for drivers.
"We are creating new digital experiences for our customers, both inside and outside of the vehicle, to enhance their lives and keep them connected to an increasingly digital world," Reuss said in a prepared statement. "As our business model evolves to reflect the vital role that software plays in our products and services...Edward's proven track record of digital and e-commerce expertise and leadership make him a huge asset.”
Kummer brings digital experiences from a variety of industries to the automaker. He previously was president of Nordstrom Rack’s online business as well as the company’s HauteLook brand. Prior to that, he held a number of digital, e-commerce, and marketing roles at companies including Goldman Sachs, Luxottica Group, Victoria’s Secret, and The Walt Disney Company.
GM recently added a technology leader to its board as well. On Tuesday, the company announced that Aneel Bhusri, co-founder, co-CEO and chairman of Workday, is joining the board, adding a director with extensive software and venture capital experience.
GM isn’t the only automaker bolstering its technology talent in preparation for a software-driven future. Ford last month recruited Mike Amend, who ran online operations for home improvement retailer Lowe’s, as Chief Digital and Information Officer. In this role, he’s responsible for overseeing the automaker’s tech platforms and data and software development efforts. Like Kummer, Amend’s role involves close collaboration with the company’s business and operations teams.
GM shares were up in morning trading in the United States.