General Motors has named Bob Socia, currently global purchasing chief, as the president of GM China, effective Oct. 1, 2012. Socia will be the successor of Kevin Wale, who will retire on October 31, 2012 after having held the position since 2005. Wale was responsible for increasing the sales of GM China from 560,000 units in 2005 to 2.5 million in 2011. The appointment of Socia as GM China president will be his second stint in the country. He was executive vice president of Shanghai GM from 2007 to 2009, when he was named GM's vice president of global purchasing and supply chain. That job includes leading GM’s operations in India and several Southeast Asia countries like Indonesia and Thailand. Socia is credited with improving the carmaker’s relations with its supply chain.
His leadership allowed GM to score its highest-ever standing in the 2012 annual ranking of carmakers' supplier relations by Planning Perspectives Inc. The carmaker’s score has improved every year after Socia replaced Bo Andersson as purchasing chief. GM said in a statement that it would appoint Socia's successor "in the near future."
Socia’s appointment is the latest executive change under chief executive Dan Akerson. In 2012 alone, Akerson has named new chiefs of manufacturing, information technology, infotainment and GM Europe. He also dismissed GM’s former global marketing chief, Joel Ewanick. Socia was also president of GM South Africa in 2004 and has served in executive roles in Asia, Europe and South America. Socia’s appointment will require him to report to Tim Lee, GM's vice president of global manufacturing and president of its international operations, which includes China.