DETROIT Aug 2 General Motors Co said on
Friday it has split the critical China operations from its
international unit, which will now be run by the former chief
executive of Swedish automaker Volvo.
Tim Lee, who has led the international operations unit for
almost four years, was named chairman of GM China and retains
his position as global chief of manufacturing.
The moves will allow the company to focus more on China, the
world's largest automotive market, as well as other
fast-growing, emerging markets, GM said.
"It will put us in a better position to take on the
competition and take even greater advantage of all the
opportunities that exist in the international market," GM
spokeswoman Katie McBride said.
GM said Stefan Jacoby, a former head of Volvo who
also worked as an executive at Volkswagen AG, will
take over as head of the remaining international operations.
That region includes 100 countries and territories in Africa,
Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Jacoby, 55, starts his job Monday and will report to GM
Chief Executive Dan Akerson.
Jacoby left Volvo in October 2012 after the company fell
short of its sales targets, including aggressive growth plans in
China. Sources said at the time that Jacoby had clashed with the
deputy chairman on Volvo's board over a key appointment and
Jacoby suffered a mild stroke in September 2012, but GM
officials said he is fit to run the company's international
operations and declined to discuss his health further. Volvo
said when Jacoby left, his illness had nothing to do with the
decision to remove him.
Jacoby is the latest former VW executive to join GM.
In January, GM named VW's Karl-Thomas Neumann to head its
money-losing Opel unit in Europe. Five months later, GM tapped
Tim Mahoney, a former VW executive, as head of global marketing.
Last summer, the U.S. automaker hired Michael Lohscheller from
VW to be Opel's chief financial officer.
Akerson wants Lee to focus on China, where GM is the market
leader, and on the company's aggressive product launch plans.
GM has more than 60 vehicle launches globally this year and
in 2014, including the recently introduced Chevrolet Silverado
and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks, which are key profit
Bob Socia, president of GM China, will continue to report to
Lee, who will have responsibility for 12 joint ventures, two
wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 55,000 employees
"Tim is critical to building on our success in China and to
ensuring flawless vehicle launches around the globe," Akerson
China will still be included in GM's international
operations when it comes to financial reporting, however,