The head of GM Mexico, Arturo Elias,will take the reins at GM Canadaon Aug. 1 when Michael Grimaldi moves on to head GM's Daewoo Auto and Technology Co. in South Korea.

The popular Grimaldi, 54, ran GM Canada for 4½ years, a period when the Oshawa, Ont. plant won numerous awards forproduction quality.

He played a significant role in the redesign of GM full-sized pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, a key segment in the company's lineup.

And he was in charge when GM Canada announced the cancellation of the third shift at GM Canada's No. 1 plant in Oshawaand the closure of the No. 2 plant in 2008, with the loss of 3,900 jobs.

The No.2 plant was recently ranked as the fourth most productive vehicle assembly plant in North America and the best in terms of initial quality.

Elias, 51, has been head of GM's operations in Mexico since the spring of 2001.

He joined GM in 1978 as a manufacturing engineer with Delco Electronics, armed with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, a master's degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Elias moved through GM's finance and product-development positions in several countries, working with a range of vehicles from Opel compacts to full-size trucks.

Eliasheaded GM Chile and GM Argentina before his promotion as head of Mexican operations.