General Motors Corp. names Robert E. Socia, a veteran of the auto maker’s far-flung international operations, to succeed Bo Andersson as global purchasing chief.

Socia, 55, currently serves as executive vice president of Shanghai General Motors Co. Ltd. in China. Until Socia’s appointment becomes effective July 1, Kimberly Brycz will lead the auto maker’s Global Purchasing and Supply Chain organization.

Socia, who has worked in senior purchasing capacities at the auto maker in Brazil, Europe, also led the purchasing unit of an unsuccessful 3-year alliance with Fiat Auto Group that cost GM $2 billion in 2003. He joined GM in 1975.

In addition to purchasing, Socia has held roles in finance and material handling. Prior to his current assignment, he served as president and managing director of GM South Africa between 2004 and 2007. He holds degrees from Oakland (MI) University and the University of Detroit Mercy.

“With Bob’s diverse experience leading operations in Europe, South Africa and China, his proven dedication to putting the customer first and his extensive experience in purchasing, he is well-prepared,” GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson says in a statement.

GM operates one of the largest purchasing organizations in world, buying some $45 billion annually in direct materials for vehicle assembly. The group has more than 6,000 employees in 47 countries and purchases materials from 3,300 suppliers globally.

Andersson, who also came from the auto maker’s international operations, took the reins of global purchasing at GM in 2001. He has accepted an offer to chair the board at Russian vehicle builder GAZ Group, which will be an industrial partner to parts supplier Magna International Inc. in its bid to acquire Adam Opel Gmbh.

Socia’s at Shanghai GM will be named soon, the auto maker says.