GM picks Jim DeLuca to replace Tim Lee as manufacturing chief

Jim DeLuca began his career in 1979 at GM’s Linden, N.J., assembly plant.
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DETROIT -- General Motors has named Jim DeLuca to lead its global manufacturing operations, the latest in a string of executive changes at the automaker and the first major personnel move since Mary Barra took over as CEO.

He succeeds Tim Lee, 62, who is retiring.

DeLuca, 52, has spent 35 years in various GM manufacturing roles, including his current position as vice president of manufacturing for GM International Operations. His elevation to executive vice president of global manufacturing, overseeing more than 200,000 employees at 171 facilities in 31 countries, is effective Feb. 1.

DeLuca will report to Barra, who took over the company’s top spot last week after the retirement of CEO Dan Akerson.

Lee has served as GM’s global manufacturing chief since July 2012. His retirement is effective April 1. He also serves as chairman of GM China, after having led GM’s International Operations unit before the company carved out its China operation as a standalone business.

A GM spokeswoman said day-to-day China operations will continue to be led by GM China president Matt Tsien, who assumed that role from Bob Socia on Jan. 1. Tsien will become GM China's No. 1 executive, reporting to GM President Dan Ammann.

Lee had been serving in the chairman role at GM China “for his deep business connections in China and to help with the transition,” the spokeswoman said.

As the head of global manufacturing, Lee improved quality and streamlined costs, GM said in a statement. Last year, he oversaw the launches of more than 40 vehicles and nearly 25 new powertrains, one of GM’s busiest-ever years for product launches.

Lee’s relationships with local partners in China “helped spur growth of the company’s business” in the world’s largest automotive market, GM said. Along with its joint venture partners, GM sold a record 3,160,377 vehicles in China in 2013.

“Tim inspired a collaborative approach across the organization and a true global mindset that made a difference for our customers, stockholders and employees,” Barra said in a statement.

DeLuca managed the launch of 19 new vehicles in China and other Asian markets as head of international manufacturing.

“His global manufacturing and quality experience, along with his desire for innovative solutions, ensure we will continue our progress in producing the world’s best vehicles, powertrains and stampings,” Barra said.

DeLuca began his career in 1979 at GM’s Linden, N.J., assembly plant as a student at General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, where he got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in manufacturing management. He was picked last year to lead manufacturing for International Operations, after stints overseeing quality for that unit and GM Daewoo Auto & Technology.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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