Death of top GM man in Dubai

DUBAI - Paul Johnson, Middle East managing director of General Motors, has died after a brief illness.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 11 Jan 2004, 12:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:05 AM

Johnson (50), had been in the position since 1999 and presided over a resurgence in GM's market performance.

"Paul's death comes as great shock to all of us who knew him and respected him as a friend and colleague," said Steve Koch, regional director of GM's Africa and Middle East operations.

"He was a very genuine man of great personal character, integrity, and warmth who cared deeply for the friendships and partnerships he made with his associates and retail partners. He will be greatly missed, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife and family." Johnson's family are setting up a fund in his memory to assist two-year-old Mohammed Abbas Nadhr who was hit by a car and paralysed from the waist down and admitted to hospital about the same time as Johnson. Young Mohammed's family are in need of help with medical bills and subsequent care for the child.

Details of the fund and how to contribute will be announced later.

Johnson's funeral will take place in the USA and a memorial service will be held later in Dubai. A condolences book has been opened at GM's regional head office at Dubai's World Trade Centre so that people can record their tributes. He is survived by his wife Jane and sons Tim, Ben, and David.

'PJ', as he was popularly known, was a career-long GM employee since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 with a Master's degree in Business Administration.

He came to Dubai to head the Middle East regional office after three years with GM's UK subsidiary Vauxhall Motors, where he was field operations director in charge of all activities relating to support of the 500-strong dealer network.

While in charge of Middle East operations, he oversaw a dramatic rise in GM sales - more than doubling under his tenure and on target to reach 100,000 units a year. Last year, he presided over the launch of 16 new models, more than at any time in GM history and the most ever introduced in a single year by any auto manufacturer in the region.

He was also instrumental in establishing GM's Middle East Parts Distribution Centre in Jebel Ali, at $40 million one of the biggest projects ever undertaken by GM in the region. He took an active part in the affairs of the American Business Council and in fostering Shaikh Mohammed's Leadership Development Programme for young UAE nationals.

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