DETROIT -- General Motors Co., taking another step to fine-tune its international operations, is creating a separate sales region for South America, and the head of the new unit will report directly to CEO Ed Whitacre.
South America was previously part of GM International Operations, which encompassed all countries outside of North America and Europe. The new operating unit, announced today in a statement, makes South America GM’s fourth global region.
In the first five months of this year, GM’s South American sales have climbed 17 percent to 394,000 vehicles or about 12 percent of the automaker’s global sales.
“With the rapidly growing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Russia, we need the GMIO team focused exclusively on those countries that are critical to our growth,” Whitacre said in a statement.
GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy.
Jaime Ardila will head GM South America out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He leaves his post as president of GM Mercosur, which encompasses Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
GM also said it is shifting Denise Johnson, currently vice president of labor relations, to president of GM Brazil starting July 1. She will report to Ardila. Catherine Clegg will succeed Johnson, vacating her post as GM North America manufacturing manager. GM said it would announce Clegg’s successor soon.