DETROIT -- General Motors appointed Alicia Boler-Davis as U.S. vice president of customer experience, a position created four months ago as a way to boost customer retention.
Boler-Davis, 42, was plant manager at GM's Orion Township assembly plant in suburban Detroit, which makes the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact and Buick Verano compact sedan. She replaces Paul Copses, who had been promoted in October from executive director of customer care and aftersales.
Copses, 50, was reassigned to lead a "major global strategic initiative" that will integrate the information-technology systems globally across GM's customer care and aftersales division, GM spokeswoman Pam Flores said.
"Paul made a lot of terrific contributions while pioneering the role," Flores said. "Alicia will build on that while bringing a fresh set of eyes."
In her new role, Boler-Davis will be "responsible for leading General Motors' effort to make the way customers are treated a driver for repeat purchases of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac products and services," GM said in a statement.
Over the past year, Boler-Davis has overseen the Sonic and Verano launches at Orion Township. The Sonic launch in particular was critical for GM because it required an overhaul of its usual manufacturing processes to profitably build a small car. GM is the only automaker making a subcompact car in the United States.
Boler-Davis will report to GM North America President Mark Reuss, who has stressed customer retention and has said he wants GM to lead the auto industry in customer service and satisfaction.
In a statement, Reuss praised Boler-Davis' "candor with leaders and strength of commitment she engenders among her team."
"The breakthrough change that Alicia led as plant manager at Orion … needs to be brought to our customer experience," Reuss said.
Last month, Boler-Davis was first lady Michelle Obama's guest at the State of the Union address. In October, she led President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on a tour of the Orion Township plant.
Boler-Davis has been at GM since 1994. She has been a vehicle line director for small cars and plant manager at various assembly plants. She has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and a master's degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.