General Motors announced today the appointment of Grace Lieblein as head of its Brazil operations and Ernesto Hernandez as head of its Mexico unit.
Both appointments are effective June 1.
Lieblein, 50, was named president and managing director of GM do Brasil in the automaker's third largest market after China and the United States. She will replace Denise Johnson, who left GM at the end of February amid a decline in market share. Lieblein will report to GM South America President Jaime Ardila.
Lieblein is currently head of GM de Mexico. She has held the post since December 2008 and is the first woman to lead GM's operations in Mexico. She joined GM in 1978 as a co-op student and served as chief engineer for crossovers, including the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.
Hernandez, 53, is replacing Lieblein and has served as vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing for GM de Mexico since April 2003. In his new post, he will report to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.
"Grace Lieblein has done an outstanding job leading GM in Mexico, managing through an incredibly difficult period during the global economic crisis and driving the operations back toward profitability," Reuss said in a statement. "She has prepared a highly capable successor in Ernesto Hernandez, ensuring a smooth transition and the retention of key industry and consumer relationships in Mexico."
GM sold 657,825 vehicles in Brazil last year, up 10.4 percent from 2009. GM's main rivals in Brazil are Volkswagen AG and Fiat SpA.
While Mexico is a relatively small market for GM sales, it is a major hub of North American production for the automaker. Last year, GM sold 155,590 units in Mexico, up 12.4 percent from 2009, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Nissan Motor Co. is the top automaker in Mexico, with 189,518 units sold in 2010 and 156,186 in 2009.
GM operates three plants in Mexico: Ramos Arizpe, which produces the Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet HHR and Saab 9-4X for the U.S. market, as well as the Chevrolet Chevy C2 and Captiva Sport for Mexico; San Luis Potosi, which makes the Chevrolet Aveo for Latin America; and Silao, which produces the Cadillac Escalade EXT, the Chevrolet Avalanche and Silverado crew cab and the GMC Sierra crew cab for the United States.
In Brazil the automaker has three vehicle manufacturing plants producing a variety of Chevrolet products: Sao Caetano do Sul, Sao Jose dos Campos and Gravatai.
The automaker has said it is on track to complete $3 billion of investment in Brazil between 2008 and 2012.