SOUTH AFRICA, Port Elizabeth - General Motors announced on January 9 2013, that it is consolidating its sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa operations into a new unit, GM Africa, effective immediately. Mario Spangenberg, president and managing director of GM North Africa, will become president and managing director of GM Africa. He will be based at GM Africa’s HQ in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. With this consolidation, Tarek Atta will become managing director of GM Egypt and North Africa, reporting to Spangenberg. BIG CHANGESEdgar Lourençon, who has served as managing director of GM South Africa and president of GM Sub-Saharan Africa since November 2009, will assist in the transition and repatriate to South America later this year. He will report to Mark Barnes, GM international operations vice-president, sales, marketing and after-sales, and chief country operations officer, Africa and Australia. Tim Lee, GM vice-president, global manufacturing, and president, international operations said: “Bringing our operations in Africa together will enable us to take advantage of synergies across the continent. It will put GM in a strong position to expand in a part of the world that has tremendous long-term potential for vehicle sales growth.”GM does business in more than 50 markets in Africa, and has manufacturing operations in South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. In 2012, GM sold seven short of 180 500 vehicles in Africa, an increase of 17.5% from the previous year. Barnes said: “We are pleased to have Mario, a proven leader and an agent of change, overseeing our Africa operations. He has done an outstanding job growing GM’s business in North Africa, despite intense political and economic challenges.”Spangenberg has been in his present position since July 1 2011. He earlier held key posts in other parts of the world, including director of sales operations for GM de Mexico, managing director of international sales for GM Daewoo Auto & Technology in South Korea, and director of marketing for Adam Opel AG in Germany. He began his industry career in 1980 at Volkswagen.Lee said: “We thank Edgar for strengthening our operations in sub-Saharan Africa. In the short term, with his background and expertise, we will look for Edgar to provide his leadership in two critical areas – overseeing the launch of our new pick-up in South Africa and further strengthening the Isuzu relationship.”In addition to his most recent assignment in GM international operations, Lourençon has held several important positions in South America, including director of quality and director of sales and field operations for GM in Latin America, and president and managing director of GM Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. He joined the company in 1977 as an engineer in Manufacturing Engineering at GM do Brasil.