GM names new president for China operations

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General Motors Co. said Friday it has named a new president to oversee operations in its growing and increasingly important China region to succeed Bob Socia, who is retiring after working nearly four decades with the company.

The Detroit automaker said Matthew Tsien, vice president of planning and program management for GM China and GM Consolidated International Operations and Strategic Alliances for China since January 2012, will move into the president role. Socia is retiring effective Jan. 1.

Tsien will become the third GM China president since fall 2012. Socia, formerlyGMs vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, was appointed GM China president effective Oct. 1, 2012. He succeeded a retiring Kevin Wale, who had held the role in China since 2005.

When Bob was appointed president of our largest market, our plan was for him to help prepare his successor, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said in a statement. Matt is now ready to step into the role, and we wish Bob the best in his retirement.

Socia helped the company grow its business in China and to expand the Cadillac brand, which GM is working to establish as a global luxury brand. Socia, 59, began his GM career in 1975 working for the Cadillac division in Detroit. He has held several leadership positions for the automaker in North America, Brazil, Europe, South Africa and China.

Tsien will report to Akerson and will become a member of the companys Executive Operations Committee. China is GMs largest sales market, and the company and joint ventures are expected to sell more than 3 million vehicles there this year, which would set a record. Last year, GM and its joint ventures sold 2.84 million automobiles in China.

Tsien alsowill helpoversee about $11 billion of investment in China through 2016, which will add assembly plants and boost annual production capacity to 5 million vehicles.GM has 12 joint ventures and two foreign enterprises in China and more than 58,000 employees there.

Earlier this year, GM named Tim Lee chairman of GM China, a new position. Lee is focusing on GMs overall strategy in China. Tsien will oversee day-to-day operations.

Tsien, 53, has worked for GM for 37 years. GM said Tsien has deep insight into the companys China operations as from 2009 to 2012 he led a joint venture there as executive vice president of SAIC-GM-Wuling and helped negotiate its joint venture with SAIC, including Shanghai GM and Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.

In 1976, Tsien began working for Delco Electronics as a cooperative student. He has worked for the company in Germany, Australia and China in technical, program management and planning jobs. In 2001 he was appointed executive director of vehicle systems for GM North America product development, and previously worked as executive director of global technology engineering.

GM said it will later announce a successor for Tsien.

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