GM names new Chinese operations president image

General Motors China President Bob Socia today announced he will retire on Jan. 1, 2014 after nearly four decades at the company and Matthew Tsien, vice president of Planning and Program Management for GM China and GM Consolidated International Operations and Strategic Alliances for China, will succeed him.

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.

“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.”

“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.”

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.