GM appoints Bob Socia as president of its Chinese operations image

General Motors has appointed global purchasing chief Bob Socia as president of GM China, where he will replace the retiring Kevin Wale.

Wale has been GM China’s president since 2005 and has helped grow sales from 560,000 units to 2.5 million last year, making China GM’s largest market.

For Bob Socia, 58, it will be the second time he works in China, after serving as executive vice president of Shanghai GM from 2007 to 2009. From 2009 until now, he was GM’s vice president of global purchasing and supply chain. During this time, Socia has improved GM’s relations with its supply chain. GM’s score has improved every year since Socia became purchasing chief.

Socia’s appointment is the latest executive change operated under CEO Dan Akerson, who has already installed new heads of manufacturing, IT, infotainment and GM Europe. Bob Socia will report to Tim Lee, GM’s vice president of global manufacturing and president of its international operations, including China.

“Bob has extensive experience leading global operations and global purchasing, and working directly with our joint venture partners,” Lee said in a statement. In the past, Socia has held several other senior positions including president of GM South Africa in 2004 and other executive roles in Asia, Europe and South America.