In his place, the company has announced the promotion of Matt Tsien (above, left) to the presidency of General Motors China. Tsien has until now served as a vice president at GM China, responsible for planning, program management, consolidated international operations and strategic alliances. In his new role, Tsien will also join the GM Executive Operations Committee and report directly to its chairman, Dan Akerson, apparently bypassing Tim Lee, the chairman of GM China whose name (as you can see below) is absent from the announcement.
Tsien takes the reins at a critical time for GM's operations in China, steering an $11 billion investment and fending off advancements from other foreign automakers like Volkswagen that are keen to muscle in on its territory.
Bob Socia retires after decades of distinguished service
DETROIT – General Motors China President Bob Socia today announced he will retire on Jan. 1, 2014 after nearly four decades at the company managing a wide range of important positions around the globe.
Matthew (Matt) Tsien, vice president of Planning and Program Management for GM China and GM Consolidated International Operations and Strategic Alliances for China, will succeed Socia.
"We appreciate Bob's 38 years of dedicated service and his significant contributions to GM in all of our regions," said Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO of General Motors. "When Bob was appointed president of our largest market, our plan was for him to help prepare his successor. Matt is now ready to step into the role and we wish Bob the best in his retirement."
As the head of GM's operations in China, Socia led the growth of the company's business there, working with the local partners. GM and its joint ventures are on track to sell more than 3 million vehicles this year, a new record for the company. He also helped expand GM's Cadillac portfolio and increased exports to emerging markets. Socia, 59, began his career with GM in 1975 in the Cadillac Division in Detroit and has held key positions in North America, Brazil, Europe and South Africa in addition to China.
In his new role, Tsien will become a member of the GM Executive Operations Committee, reporting to Akerson.
"We expect Matt will extend our legacy of strong leadership in China," said Akerson. "He has held significant leadership roles in the company, including several in China. Matt has a deep understanding of China's automotive market and has worked closely with and built excellent relationships with our partners and joint ventures, which will help ensure a smooth transition."
A 37-year veteran of GM, Tsien has extensive experience in engineering, planning and management, both globally and locally. He also has valuable experience leading a joint venture in China as executive vice president of the SAIC-GM-Wuling operations. Having helped negotiate the early joint ventures with SAIC, including Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), he has deep insight into the company's China operations.
Tsien, 53, began his career at Delco Electronics in 1976 in electrical engineering as a cooperative student. Between 1995 and 2000, he worked in Germany, Australia and China in technical, program management and planning roles. He was appointed executive director of vehicle systems for GM North America Product Development in 2001 and later executive director of Global Technology Engineering. He was executive vice president of SAIC-GM-Wuling from 2009 to 2012. In his current role, which he has held since January 2012, he oversees GM's product planning and the growth of its product lineup across the region.
Tsien received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1981, a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1982 and a master's degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. Tsien's successor will be announced later.
Earlier this year, GM announced that its joint ventures in China are investing about $11 billion in vehicles, facilities and people through 2016.
About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.
General Motors has 12 joint ventures, two wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 58,000 employees in China. GM and its joint ventures offer the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China. Passenger cars and commercial vehicles are sold under the Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang, Opel and Wuling brands. In 2012, GM sold more than 2.8 million vehicles in China. More information on General Motors in China can be found at GM Media Online.