GM appoints Tim Lee as head of global manufacturing
Tim Lee began his GM career as an intern in 1969 and took his current job in December 2009.
DETROIT -- General Motors has tapped its head of China and other key international markets to also lead its global manufacturing operations.
Tim Lee, 61, was appointed GM's vice president of global manufacturing, GM said in a statement today. He'll retain his position as president of GM's international division, which includes China, Russia, South Korea and other regions and accounts for 40 percent of GM's global sales volume.
The move will allow Diana Tremblay to focus on the busiest U.S. vehicle-launch schedule that GM has had in many years.
Photo credit: Reuters
Lee replaces Diana Tremblay, 52, who becomes vice president of North American manufacturing and will report to Lee. Tremblay, a 35-year GM veteran who led GM in contract negotiations with the UAW in 2007 and 2011, took the global manufacturing post in 2011.
The move elevates the profile of Lee, who began his GM career as an intern in 1969 and took his current job in December 2009. He has overseen manufacturing in Europe and North America and already had purview over 60 plants across 15 countries as president of GM's international division.
In a statement, GM CEO Dan Akerson said Lee's experience "gives Tim a terrific vantage point for this job."
"His extensive manufacturing experience coupled with this alignment will help deliver great, quality vehicles that keep pace with GM's global growth," Akerson said.
It's Akerson's second major executive switch since last week when he inserted vice chairman Steve Girsky to replace Karl-Friedrich Stracke as acting head of GM's Opel European unit.
A GM spokeswoman said the move will allow Tremblay to focus on the busiest U.S. vehicle-launch schedule that GM has had in many years. The company is retooling its four North American truck plants this year as it plans 2013 launches of the next generations of its full-sized pickups and SUVs.
Akerson lauded Tremblay's success in increasing GM's North American manufacturing capacity and overseeing billions of dollars in investment into its plants over the past two years.
"Our realignment now allows Diana to focus her considerable talents and experience exclusively on North America -- our single greatest manufacturing region," Akerson said.
In 2007, Tremblay helped GM negotiate a watershed deal with the UAW that shifted retiree health care liabilities off GM's balance sheet and into a union-administered trust.
Lee will oversee four regional manufacturing vice presidents: Tremblay; Jose Pinheiro, who oversees GM production in South America; John Buttermore, who heads GM's international manufacturing operations; and Peter Thom, who runs GM's European plants.
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