The automaker said that Bob Lutz, , hired Sept. 1 as vice chairman of GM, becomes chairman of GM North America. Gary Cowger, group vice president of GM Manufacturing and Labor Relations, has been named president of GM North America. Both changes are effective immediately.
Zarrella was GM executive vice president and president of GM North America.
"Lutz and Cowger give us a very strong North American leadership team with great experience and depth," GM President and CEO Rick Wagoner said.
"I want to congratulate Ron Zarrella on this terrific opportunity at Bausch & Lomb," Wagoner said. "Ron has been a strong contributor at GM. He led an effective team that has transformed our sales and marketing and brought about a heightened awareness of brand value to the entire industry.
Zarrella joined GM from Bausch & Lomb in 1994 as head of North American vehicle sales, service and marketing to try to revive GM's marketing efforts. Wagoner cited Zarrella as the force behind the 0-percent "Keep America Rolling" campaign, which has revitalized auto sales after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Still, Zarrella has come under fire for the automaker's continued drop in U.S. market share.
Zarrella had been with Bausch & Lomb from 1985 through 1994, first as president of the former International Division then as president, chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors. He replaces William Waltrip, who served as interim chairman and CEO after the departure of William Carpenter earlier this year.
Reuters contributed to this report