Top Management Reshuffled at GM Korea, GM China

Marc Comeau, vice president-vehicle sales, service and marketing at GM Korea since 2013, assumes the same title with GM China. He is replaced in Korea by Dale Sullivan, former regional director of the Chevrolet West Region in the U.S.

Vince Courtenay, Correspondent

February 8, 2016

4 Min Read
Cadillac dealership attests to GM growth in China
Cadillac dealership attests to GM growth in China.

GM Korea and GM China announce major changes in their top sales and marketing posts.

Marc Comeau, who has served as vice president-vehicle sales, service and marketing at GM Korea since 2013, moves to China where he has the same title with GM China and SAIC-GM.

Comeau is replaced in Korea by Dale Sullivan, former regional director of the Chevrolet West Region in the U.S.

In his new posts in China, Comeau reports to GM China president Matt Tsien and SAIC-GM executive vice president Julian Blissett. The appointments were effective Feb. 1.

Comeau had held GM Korea’s top marketing and sales slot since 2013, after serving as vice president-vehicle sales, service and marketing at GM of Canada since 2002. He joined the automaker in 1983 as a product specialist in the GM of Canada Montreal office.

In China Comeau succeeds 31-year GM veteran John Stadwick, who had held the positions there since 2013 after three years as president and managing director of GM Middle East Operations. Chadwick is returning to the U.S.

A GM Korea spokesman tells WardsAuto, “We appreciate the job Marc Comeau has done in Korea for the last three years increasing market share and improving customer satisfaction.”

Sullivan, who takes Comeau’s place in Korea, joined GM in 2000 as zone manager-Chevrolet, Cadillac and Oldsmobile, based in Thousand Oaks, CA.

No stranger to business in Asia, Sullivan in 2003-2006 was Chevrolet brand director in China, where he was involved in introducing Chevrolet to that market.

A spokesman notes Sullivan will be key to achieving the 2016 sales targets.

The company expects that he will strengthen Chevrolet’s presence in Korea with his wealth of experience in marketing, sales and service and his innovative dealer-centric sales and advanced vehicle delivery methods that he developed in the U.S., the spokesman noted. He said his China experience is a definite plus.

“The Chevrolet brand in Korea is still young and has a very strong growth potential,” the spokesman says. “Mr. Sullivan has acquired a wealth of experience that includes launching the Chevrolet brand in China. His rich experience in China will help Chevrolet grow in the Korean market.”

While GM Korea ships no completely built-up vehicles to China, last year it exported more than 190,000 complete-knocked-down kits to the country, the spokesman says. The kits ranged from the Spark minicar to the Captiva SUV.

Adding Digital-Marketing Brainpower

In addition to Sullivan joining the automaker to head all Korean sales, marketing and service functions, CEO James Kim also names digital-media marketing specialist Ilsup Lee as managing director-marketing.

Lee joins GM Korea from the recently founded online marketing and mobile device firm, Wider Planet, where he had been vice president-sales and marketing.

Lee also once held an executive post with Yahoo Korea, the same company Kim once headed.

As of yet GM Korea does not sell vehicles online, but the Internet and social media are vital in maintaining contact and rapport with Korean consumers, including the high number of owner/enthusiast groups GM Korea supports.

At an employee rally last month Kim vowed to attain a 10% domestic market share this year. He said it would be achieved by applying aggressive new marketing strategies and enhancing customer service.

Kim joined GM Korea in June as chief operating officer after serving for six years as CEO of Microsoft Korea and prior to that as CEO of Yahoo Korea.

The 10% target has been a perennial one for the company’s CEOs since the 2002 acquisition and formation of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, which became GM Korea in 2011.

Yet the goal has been elusive. It was reached only twice in the past 13 years when GMAT took 10.7% of the domestic market in 2006 and 10.3% in 2007.

However, Kim has some new strategies up his sleeve, analysts observe. He had been understudying the company for several months while waiting to officially take his post Jan. 1, but effectively has been chief executive since June.

With the new sales and marketing team in place, GM Korea is bringing seven new or updated models to market this year. It will sell the Chevrolet Volt in Korea and also will launch globally a replacement version of the Captiva SUV.

GM Korea ended 2015 with its best domestic annual sales since the company was acquired from GM Daewoo in 2002. It sold 158,404 Chevrolet-branded vehicles, a gain of 2.7% in a domestic market that increased 8.7% overall, to take a modest 8.6% market share.

Exports were off 2.7% with 467,468 vehicles sold, causing a global sales drop of 1.4% to 621,872.


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