James Campbell was last night named general manager of General Motors' top selling Chevrolet brand, effective immediately. He previously headed GM's fleet and commercial operations.

Announcing the appointment, Susan Docherty, GM's head of sales, service and marketing, said: "Jim has a strong track record of building relationships and partnerships with dealers and customers, and deep Chevrolet experience. His energy, drive for results and willingness to take risks are great assets for leading the growing global Chevrolet brand."

Campbell has also held various positions in field sales, retail incentives, marketing and customer relationship management at GM. He played key roles in many product launches including the Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Colorado and Corvette.

Campbell, who joined GM in 1988, replaces Brent Dewar, previously vice president global Chevrolet, who has decided to retire on 1 April "to dedicate more time to his family and to pursue personal interests", according to the automaker.

Until he leaves, Dewar will work closely with Campbell to ensure a smooth transition at Chevrolet and also will be on a special assignment supporting Mark Reuss, GM president North America, in his new role.

Dewar was named head of Chevy's global operations in July after previously handling GM sales in Europe.

"During his 31 years with GM, Brent made a difference in multiple assignments, including key roles in Brazil and Europe, launching the award-winning American Revolution campaign and applying his environmental passion to drive the very successful gas-friendly to gas-free marketing strategy," Docherty said.  "We respect his decision to retire early next year to spend more time with his family, and want to thank him for all his contributions.  He will be missed."

A Dow Jones Newswires report said the change at Chevrolet was part of new chairman and acting chief executive Edward Whitacre's ongoing shake-up of GM's senior ranks.

A source told the news agency the new head of Buick GMC, Michael Richards, was leaving eight days after joining the automaker, adding that GM would soon announce a replacement.

Whitacre, who took on the CEO role after Fritz Henderson was pushed out last week, has been moving a new generation of executives into senior posts to revitalise the plodding Detroit automaker, the report noted.

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