General Motors has named Grace Lieblein to head its Brazil operations as GM’s global purchasing czar. Lieblein, who is 52 years old, will manage GM's $77 billion annual purchasing budget as its vice president of global purchasing and supply chain. GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky revealed that Lieblein’s appointment takes effect immediately.
Lieblein holds a lot of power across GM’s supply chain worldwide, affecting over 3,000 suppliers that offer parts, components and services to GM's global operations. In this job, Lieblein will supervise 6,700 workers globally. She also becomes responsible for GM's worldwide logistics operations. Lieblein’s promotion makes her the first woman to head GM's global purchasing operation.
Lately, CEO Dan Akerson has been making several female appointments to top posts at GM. For instance, Mary Barra has been named as global product chief. The new vice president of human resources is Cynthia Brinkley. He also named Mary Chan as the new president of global connected customer, including infotainment and OnStar. According to a GM spokesman, Lieblein is presently the highest ranking Hispanic woman at GM.
Her father came from Cuba while her mother hails from Nicaragua but she grew up in Los Angeles. Lieblein is the successor of Bob Socia, who was reassigned to oversee GM China starting last September. Kim Brycz, who had functioned as the interim purchasing chief, will continue serving as the executive director of GM's indirect materials, machinery and equipment.
Socia, who was named the purchasing czar in 2009, was applauded by suppliers for enhancing communication and transparency around GM's technical requirements and production schedules. GM has been improving its standing in industry supplier-relations ratings under Socia’s leadership.