Boler-Davis takes over from Mary Chan, who is leaving GM (Photo: GM)

Alicia Boler-Davis will take over as head of General Motors' connected-car operations, replacing Mary Chan, who will leave the car company next year. Boler-Davis, currently senior vice president, global quality and customer experience, will hand over quality control to Grace Lieblein, another GM executive. Boler-Davis will maintain responsibility for the customer experience.

The move to replace Chan comes as a surprise. The former Dell Computer executive joined GM two years ago with a remit to pull together all of the group's connectivity-related functions, upgrade the automaker's infotainment technologies and roll out the successful OnStar emergency assistance system globally.

The carmaker announced earlier this year that OnStar will become available in Europe in 2015. Chan will remain with GM through the first quarter of 2015 to help roll out a new range of connected products using the 4G/LTE mobile standard.

GM CEO Mary Barra, in announcing the changes, said connectivity is more important than ever for the company. "As vehicles and mobile technology become increasingly integrated, GM's focus is on delivering an exceptional fully connected vehicle," she said in a press release.

Lieblein is currently in charge of global purchasing and GM's supply chain. As she takes over as vice president, global quality, she is handing over those responsibilities to Steve Kiefer, vice president, global powertrain.