Michael Arcamone, who is stepping down as president and CEO of GM Korea and retiring from General Motors after 22 years, has been appointed president of the Bombardier Commercial Aircraft business unit of the Bombardier Aerospace Div. Bombardier, a Canadian corporation, made the announcement today. Arcamone begins his duties Feb. 1.

GM Korea announced Arcamone’s departure from the auto maker late yesterday to the surprise of his colleagues. John Buttermore will serve as interim CEO until a replacement is hired. Butterman currently is vice president-manufacturing for General Motors International Operations, based in Shanghai.

Guy C. Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, says in a statement: “Mike comes to us with a brilliant track record throughout his 30-year career in the automotive industry. He brings a unique background of international experience to our team.

“His hands-on leadership approach and wealth of experience in operations and program management will benefit our Commercial Aircraft business unit.”

Arcamone, who will continue to lead GM Korea through the end of this month, is quoted as saying: “I am humbled by the opportunity to lead Bombardier's Commercial Aircraft Business unit and excited to be returning to my home country.

“While I am new to the aerospace industry, I am joining a strong and knowledgeable leadership team, and our combined expertise will ensure the long-term prosperity of this business unit.”

Arcamone is a native of Montreal, Quebec. Bombardier’s headquarters and aviation operations are located in the nearby suburb of Dorval.

Speculation by industry insiders and Korean media is that Arcamone’s departure from the auto maker is related to his dissatisfaction with an alleged GM plan to transfer some of its production from Korea to plants in Europe to bolster operations there.

Various reports say the auto maker is discussing a plan with labor unions in Germany that would see at least some Chevrolet Cruze production transferred to Poland. Some vehicles built in Poland would be transferred to Germany to maximize production requirements there and offset planned job-cutting at GM’s Adam Opel unit.

It also has been reported that GM is considering transferring some production of the Orlando compact cross/utility vehicle, based on the Cruze platform, to Germany as well.

A GM Korea spokesman tells WardsAuto that “GM Korea is an integral part of the GM organization, as GM Korea's plants are an integral part of GM's global manufacturing footprint. Our operations are flexible and are running at healthy capacity at the moment. There is nothing to say beyond that.”