Wednesday, 28 July 2021 17:44

General Motors Names Global Leads


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General Motors announced the appointment of Kent Helfrich as vice president, Global Research and Development, chief technology officer and president, GM Ventures; and Omar Vargas as vice president and head of Global Public Policy.

Both appointments are effective Aug. 1.


Helfrich is currently executive director, Advanced Technology and Partnerships. He replaces Matt Tsien, who has elected to retire after 45 years with the company.


“As we pursue our vision for a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, R&D and investments in new technologies that support that vision are more important than ever,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “With Kent’s background and experience, he is uniquely positioned to help bring innovation and technology solutions into our vehicles, manufacturing facilities and operations.”


Prior to his current position, Helfrich led the GM team responsible for Global Electrification and Battery Systems. Throughout his career at GM and elsewhere, Helfrich has held a variety of leadership roles in electrical engineering.


Tsien will retire from GM, effective Nov. 1. He has held a variety of positions throughout his GM career, most recently serving as executive vice president, chief technology officer and president, GM Ventures.


Prior to his current position, Tsien led GM China from 2014 to 2020, when GM achieved unprecedented business growth and brought in the technologies that would enable the company’s long-term growth in China, especially in electrification and connectivity.


“I’d like to thank Matt for his many years of dedicated service to GM and his outstanding contributions to the company,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Matt has helped position the company for growth and long-term success. I appreciate his friendship and I wish him all the best in retirement.”


Vargas was most recently...

...senior vice president and chief Government Affairs officer for 3M Company.


“Omar Vargas brings over 20 years of experience leading public policy teams and working collaboratively to find policy solutions to complex issues,” said Craig Glidden, GM executive vice president, Global Public Policy, and general counsel. “His broad experience managing issues across multiple industries and working with governments, both within the U.S. and globally, make him the right person to advocate for policy solutions in support of GM’s vision, including our commitment for an all-electric future.”


Vargas held multiple government affairs positions at 3M between 2017 and 2021, including being named senior vice president and chief Government Affairs officer in April 2021. Prior to joining 3M, Vargas worked in government affairs at Praxair (now Linde) from 2012 to 2016, including serving as senior counsel and executive director of Government Relations.


Prior to joining Praxair, Vargas worked at PepsiCo from 2006 to 2012 in key public policy and government affairs roles.


From 2001 to 2006, Vargas held a variety of positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, appointed by President George W. Bush. His appointments included positions working on civil rights, national security and immigration.


Vargas, a New Jersey native, holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Seton Hall University, a master of arts in international law, organizations and economic development from the School of International Service at American University and a Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law at American University.


Source: GM


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