Kevin Wale, president, GM China, and chief country operations officer, China, India and ASEAN, has announced that he will retire Oct. 31. Bob Socia, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, will succeed Wale, effective Oct. 1.
“Kevin has been instrumental in strengthening our foundation in the largest vehicle market in the world,” said Tim Lee, GM vice president, Global Manufacturing, and president, International Operations. “Delivering exceptional value related to General Motors’ presence in China, he has made the company a recognized business leader and valued partner throughout Asia. We appreciate Kevin’s nearly four decades of service to the company and wish him continued success.”
Kevin WaleWale, 57, began his GM career at Holden in 1975, where he held the positions of director of Finance and director of Sales and Marketing. In 1998, he moved to Singapore as the executive responsible for GM’s Asia Pacific operations. In 2001, he moved to the U.K. as chairman and managing director of Vauxhall Motors and vice president of GM Europe.
In 2005, Wale became president and managing director of the GM China Group, responsible for the overall coordination of GM’s extensive operations in Greater China. GM’s annual sales grew from 560,000 units in 2005 to 2.5 million units in 2011, and the company has remained the leader among global OEMs for seven consecutive years. In 2009, Wale received the Shanghai government’s Magnolia Award, the highest honor for members of the foreign community in Shanghai.
Socia has worked in every GM region around the world. With his broad global background, he is well prepared for a seamless transition to oversee many of GM’s key Asian markets.
“Bob has extensive experience leading global operations and global purchasing, and working directly with our joint venture partners,” said Lee. “His vast knowledge of our business around the world, combined with his ability to build and foster strong relationships and always put the customer first, makes him a perfect fit for this critical role.”
Socia, 58, joined GM’s Cadillac Division in Detroit in 1975 and worked in both the finance and materials management areas. He has held a number of senior international positions in GM Asia Pacific, GM Europe, and GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Socia was appointed president and managing director of GM South Africa in 2004. In 2007, he was named executive vice president of Shanghai GM, GM’s 15-year-old joint venture in China. Socia was appointed GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, in 2009. He has been responsible for GM’s global purchasing, supplier quality, logistics, order fulfillment and supply operations.
In his new position, Socia will report to Lee and remain a member of GM’s Executive Operations Committee (EOC). Socia’s successor in Global Purchasing and Supply Chain will be named in the near future.