General Motors has announced that Carlos Zarlenga has been appointed president of the recently-resurrected GM South America operating unit. Zarlenga currently serves as president of the GM Mercosur subdivision responsible for Brazil and Argentina.
The new GM South America division will bear responsibility for GM’s operations in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The unit will also supervise the ongoing legal dispute with authorities in Venezuela, where the automaker ceased operations in April 2017 after the government illegally ceased the GM Valencia plant.
Ernesto Ortiz, who at the beginning of the year was named as president of GM South America West responsible for operations in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, will continue to hold that post, reporting to Zarlenga.
The changes go into effect on April 1st, 2019. Zarlenga will continue reporting to Barry Engle, who currently serves as GM Executive vice president and president of General Motors International. Engle, in turn, will take responsibility for the newly-established GM Americas region, a change that arose from the retirement of Alan Batey, who headed GM North America while also being responsible for the Chevrolet brand globally. Engle’s role in charge of GM Americas will oversee all operations in North America, Central America and South America.
“Carlos has a track record of success in leading operations of Argentina and Brazil and was responsible for the unification of the operations of the two countries to create GM Mercosur in 2017, exploring synergies, accelerating decision processes and optimizing results in the region,” said Barry Engle in a statement. “His experience, technical knowledge and ability to lead the team at crucial moments in the recent history of the company in the region, accredit him as the ideal executive to assume this important responsibility, in these times in which the company continues to simplify its structure, seeking efficiencies and reorganizing the business model.”
For his part, Zarlenga said he was pleased with the appointment and is confident he can continue to successfully lead Chevrolet in the South American region.
“It is an honor to take on this new challenge,” he said. “I have the experience and deep market knowledge of Ernesto Ortiz in the mission of driving the business in the region, trying to satisfy our customers and maintaining the leadership of our Chevrolet brand for more than 17 years in South America. The new organization will give us greater agility and efficiency in the operation.”
Zarlenga has a significant amount of experience, having held several important positions within GM in the southern region of the American continent. In addition to his current position as President of GM Mercosur that he has held since January 2017, the 45-year-old Argentinian served as President of GM Brasil (2016), President and CEO of GM Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay (2015), as well as as CFO of GM South America (2013-2016).
He also served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GM Korea (2012-2013), including serving as the Director of the Board of Directors of GM Uzbekistan, a GM joint venture between GM and that country’s government. Before joining GM, Zarlenga worked for over 15 years at General Electric in Europe, Asia and the United States.