Basile took over on April 1st and his appointment comes after the joint venture saw sales slide 25 percent in Q4 2018 and 17 percent in Q1 2019. He will work out of Shanghai and report to Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and president of GM China.
In his new position, Basile replaces Julian Blissett, who has held the position since 2014. Prior to this announcement, Blissett was named GM senior vice president, International Operations where he will be responsible for GM’s operations outside the Americas and China, including Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. He reports directly to GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“I want to thank Julian for his dedication, leadership, and contributions to GM’s success in China,” said Tsien. “With his leadership and team effort, GM has achieved further success in China through our steadfast joint venture partnership.”
Basile has spent 25 years at General Motors, having worked in product development in North America, Europe, Korea, and China. He started at GM in 1994, working in various positions including engineering, research and development, and administration. Since 2016, he’s served as GM vice president of Global Portfolio Planning, responsible for development and management of the company’s worldwide product portfolio. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration.
“Sam’s global product expertise and local experience will help SAIC-GM strengthen its winning portfolio as the market enters the era of high-quality development,” said Tsien. “He will work closely with our partner to drive the continued success of our global brands in China.”
The leadership change comes as sales have fallen for GM’s three core brands in China, although the declines are indicative of a depressed Chinese market as a whole. In the fourth quarter, Chevrolet sales in China fell 28.9 percent, Buick sales fell 23 percent, while Cadillac sales increased 9.7 percent. Overall, GM China sales fell 9.8 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.