Roy S. Roberts was appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in May 2011 to serve as the Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager. During his nearly two year tenure at DPS, the school district has experienced two consecutive balanced budgets and operating surpluses; reduced its legacy deficit from $327 million to $72 million; and, received a favorable A+ Standard & Poor’s credit rating.
Roberts, former Managing Director at Reliant Equity Investors, has decades of managerial, financial and organizational experience, having served as the highest-ranking African-American executive in the U.S. automobile industry as Group Vice President for North American Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing of General Motors Corporation (GM). He also served as Vice President and General Manager in charge of Field Sales, Service and Parts for the Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Group of General Motors Corporation.
As Vice President and General Manager of the Pontiac-GMC Division from 1996-1998, he presided over the merger of GM’s Pontiac and GMC nameplates. Roberts was the first at GM to lead such a merger, which necessitated combining the marketing staffs of those two divisions into a streamlined workforce, and bringing 21st century innovations and cost-efficiencies to the new Pontiac-GMC.
During a brief absence from GM in 1988, Roberts became Vice President and General Manager, Truck Operations for Navistar International Corporation in Chicago. Upon his return to GM in 1990, he assumed the role of manufacturing manager for the Cadillac Motor Car Company. Prior to his 23-year career with General Motors, Roberts spent 17 years with the Aerospace Division of Lear-Siegler Corporation.
Roberts is very active in his community, playing leading roles in numerous social and civic organizations. He has led NAACP organizations at the local level and served as a Trustee Emeritus at Western Michigan University; he served as President and on the National Board of Directors for the Boy Scouts of America; and served on the boards of the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, and the Aspen Institute. A major contributor to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the museum named a contemporary African American art gallery for he and his wife, Maureen. Roberts was named Executive of the Year by Black Enterprise and African Americans on Wheels magazines and was given the American Success Award from President George W. Bush.
He also has utilized his extensive business leadership experience to the benefit of a wide range of corporations as a member of their corporate boards. Roberts served for 15 years on the Abbott Laboratories Board of Director, and recently joined the corporate board of AbbVie, which was formed when Abbott split into two independent companies.
Roberts earned a degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and completed the Executive Development Program at Harvard Business School and the General Motors Advanced International General Management Program in Switzerland. He has numerous honorary degrees.