NEW YORK — The Board of Directors of GMAC Financial Services today announced that Alvaro "Al" de Molina has been appointed chief executive officer of the company, effective April 1.

According to the board, de Molina will oversee all GMAC operations and focus on strengthening the core businesses, while positioning the company for long-term growth.

Eric Feldstein, current chief executive officer, will move over to Cerberus Capital Management L.P., an affiliate of which holds a majority interest in GMAC.

In his new role, Feldstein will advise Cerberus in connection with its large financial services portfolio and with new investment opportunities in financial services and other sectors, officials reported.

"Al brings extensive experience in financial services and banking to the GMAC CEO role, with keen insight into the needs of customers and investors alike," explained J. Ezra Merkin, chairman of GMAC's Board of Directors.

"We are pleased that he will be able to draw upon the experience and know-how of the senior GMAC team. We are confident that the combination of Al's leadership and the contributions of senior management will enhance the company's efforts to restore profitability and pursue growth opportunities," he added.

Prior to joining GMAC in August 2007, de Molina, 50, had a long career with Bank of America.

More specifically, he spent 17 years at Bank of America, most recently serving as chief financial officer. During his tenure at the institution, he also served as chief executive officer of Banc of America Securities, president of global corporate and investment banking, along with corporate treasurer.

Prior to joining Bank of America, de Molina served in the lead financial role for emerging markets at J.P. Morgan. He began his career in 1979 with PriceWaterhouse.

Commenting on his new position, de Molina said, "GMAC's key strength is its strong foundation, which includes a vast dealer network, a global footprint, a large customer base, and a talented team of employees — all of which are essential to the longer-term success of the business.

"Looking ahead, we need to align our resources to reflect the current market environment and capitalize on our competitive advantages," he continued, perhaps referring to the recent cuts the company announced in February and plans to make by the end of 2008.

Over the last year, officials claimed that the GMAC leadership team has maintained the company's strong liquidity position, reduced leverage, tightened underwriting standards, reduced risk, introduced new products for both the auto F&I businesses, in addition to structuring the company for "efficient, scalable growth."

They went on to report that the company has also enhanced its global risk management function, broadened its marketing focus and bolstered the leadership team in the mortgage business to better deal with the challenging market environment.

"GMAC's management team today reflects a complement of seasoned executives with experience at the company and new leaders with expertise in running a global financial services enterprise. Looking forward, GMAC continues to target a return to profitability, while maintaining or improving its global leadership position in its core businesses," executives highlighted.

Offering a bit of history, the company pointed out that Feldstein served as the chairman and then chief executive officer at GMAC Financial Services since November 2002. He previously served at General Motors Corp. as treasurer and vice president of finance, among various other executive positions.

"We are very pleased to bring Eric on board to the Cerberus team," said Mark Neporent, chief operating officer of Cerberus. "We expect that Cerberus and its investors will benefit from Eric's broad expertise in financial services and other sectors."

GMAC Implementing Cuts in Auto Finance Business

As part of the company's initiative to better align businesses, it announced in late February that it is restructuring its North American auto finance business, which includes trimming about 15 percent of its work force.

The goal of this plan is to reduce costs, streamline operations and position the business for scalable growth.

Overall, about 930 employees will be impacted by this restructuring. This represents about 15 percent of the company's 6,275 associates. However, GMAC said dealers should not notice any changes in their relationship with the company.

"Most dealers will see no change in the GMAC representative servicing their dealership, as we believe that a deep understanding of local markets is one of our competitive advantages," pointed out Bill Muir, GMAC president.

More specifically, the work force reductions are expected to include a range of auto finance positions in the U.S. and Canadian field offices, the Nuvell subsidiary and GMAC's central office in Detroit, Mich.

Moreover, officials indicated that the restructuring will include merging a number of separate business offices into five regional business centers located in the areas of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

In addition, GMAC representatives will continue to be strategically located throughout the U.S. and Canada to service auto dealers, executives reported.

These actions are planned to be mostly concluded by the end of 2008.

GMAC and its companies said they will continue to service retail customers and provide dealer customers with a complete range of financing products and services.

"Servicing our dealers and customers remains our top priority. We are committed to continuing to offer a full range of leading automotive finance products as we transform the organization," concluded Muir.