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DETROIT — With the continent's consumer demand climbing, General Motors revealed Tuesday that it is launching a regional organization for South America.

Heading up GM South America — whose headquarters will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil — will be Jaime Ardila, who will come over from his current position as president and general manager of GM Mercosur.

In Ardila's new post as president of GM South America, he reports to Ed Whitacre, GM chairman and chief executive officer, and will serve as a member of the executive committee.

Officials noted he will be GM's highest ranking Hispanic employee.

"Jaime's number one priority will be to ensure the very best for our customers in this important and growing region," Whitacre shared.

Composing GM South America is the automaker's existing sales and manufacturing operations in Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela, plus sales activities in the aforementioned nations and Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

GM South America — which has 29,000 employees working for it — has the capabilities for product design and engineering, meaning that it can keep on creating the local vehicles to go with the automaker's worldwide product line. 

Through May, the automaker has moved 394,000 units in the continent and commanded at 20.2 percent market share there.

"The GM International Operations team is doing a great job expanding our global presence," said Whitacre. "However, with the rapidly growing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Russia, we need the GMIO team focused exclusively on those countries that are critical to our growth."

Other Moves

In more news from the company, GM do Brazil will have a new president and managing director on July 1, when Denise Johnson, currently vice president of labor relations for GM, steps into that role.

In this new role, Johnson will report to Ardila.

Meanwhile, taking over for Johnson will be Catherine Clegg, who will become the new vice president of labor for GM on July 1.

Her current role is GM North America manufacturing manager. In Clegg's new post, she will report to GM vice president of manufacturing and labor relations Diana Tremblay.

Clegg's replacement at the manufacturing manager post will be revealed shortly.

"This is an exciting development for our team in South America," Ardila stated.

"I'm honored to lead the effort in the new South America region, and even more inspired to collaborate with our colleagues around the world to bring the best cars and trucks to our customers in the region," he concluded.