GM Gets Itself A Car Guy

Robert Stempel will take over the top job in August

He has come about as far as he could from his first job as a gas-station mechanic in Bloomfield, N.J. But those early skills may prove handy now. A good overhaul by an experienced repairman is just what General Motors needs. Last week GM's board departed from a 34-year company tradition of putting financial men in the driver's seat when it chose Robert Stempel, 56, to take over as chairman after Roger Smith retires in August.

Widely admired among his troops as "a car guy," Stempel, the first career engineer to run the company, earned an M.B.A. in night school and...

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