General Motors plans to reestablish its presence in Europe with a mobility startup business, and it has tapped Mahmoud Samara, Cadillac's North America chief who has led much of the transition to electric vehicles this year, to run it.
Samara, 44, becomes president and managing director of GM Europe on Dec. 1. He will report to Steve Kiefer, senior vice president and president of GM International, and will be based in Zurich.
"His mission is to transform our current operations into a non-traditional mobility start-up in the region, identifying entrepreneurial opportunities to commercialize our global growth strategy investments in Europe," Kiefer said in a statement. "We will make very deliberate decisions about where and how we compete in Europe."
Eric Cunningham, vice president of excellence for GM's electric vehicle growth organization, will replace Samara as vice president of Cadillac North America sales, services and marketing, also effective Dec. 1. He will report to Rory Harvey, vice president of global Cadillac.
The leadership shifts come as GM aims to fill the void it left in Europe after selling its Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group in 2017 and as Cadillac prepares for electrification.
Cadillac is just beginning to electrify its lineup, with the Lyriq crossover going on sale in the first quarter, and is revamping its dealership network for EV sales and service. More than one-third of Cadillac dealers opted to leave the brand this year.