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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (TIE): Mark Reuss, Executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain, General Motors
 
There were few more closely watched product stories in the industry over the past year than GM’s return to the dormant market for smaller pickups, zigging when rivals Ford and Ram zagged.

Results so far suggest it was a good move. Sales of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon have far exceeded analyst forecasts, with strong transaction prices. And the Colorado was an upset pick for Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year over rival Ford’s redesigned F-150.

Mark Reuss, 52, ran GM’s North American operations from late 2009 to January 2014 but influenced the company’s product-development plans during that time. He often cited his belief that automakers were ignoring the additional “bandwidth” in consumer pickup demand beyond full-size trucks.

Reuss helped GM plow that new ground without forgetting about the bread-and-butter Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups; their combined sales rose 13 percent through October. GM has freshened the Silverado and Sierra for the 2016 model year, a speedy 2½ years after their launch.