General Motors plans to reestablish its presence in Europe with a mobility startup business, and it has tapped Mahmoud Samara, Cadillac's North America chief to run it.
Samara, 44, becomes president and managing director of GM Europe on Dec. 1. He will report to Steve Kiefer, senior vice president and president of GM International, and will be based in Zurich.
Samara has led much of Cadillac's transition to electric vehicles this year. He said Europe's growing electric vehicle market presents a significant opportunity as GM rolls out its EV and AV portfolio.
"Over the coming months, our team will develop our plans to bring our best products and services to customers in Europe," he said in a statement.
Kiefer said Samara's mission "is to transform our current operations into a non-traditional mobility start-up in the region, identifying entrepreneurial opportunities to commercialize our global growth strategy investments in Europe."
The startup will also incorporate software, connectivity, defense, delivery and logistics.
Eric Cunningham, vice president of excellence for GM's electric vehicle growth organization, will replace Samara as vice president of Cadillac North America sales, services and marketing, also effective Dec. 1. He will report to Rory Harvey, vice president of global Cadillac.
The leadership shifts come as GM aims to fill the void it left in Europe after selling its Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group in 2017 and as Cadillac prepares for electrification.
Cadillac is just beginning to electrify its lineup, with the Lyriq crossover going on sale in the first quarter, and is revamping its dealership network for EV sales and service. More than one-third of Cadillac dealers opted to leave the brand this year.