General Motors has announced that chief information officer Ralph Szygenda is retiring.

The 60-year-old Szygenda will leave on 1 October, after 13 years in the role. He has been called an “outsourcing pioneer”.

He will be replaced by Terry Kline, currently GM's process information officer for product development.

Szygenda, who joined GM at a time when EDS dominated its IT operations, was an outsourcing and business process re-engineering maverick who cut billions from the company's IT budget and who negotiated a $15 billion deal a few years back that was often described as the biggest in history.

His third-generation outsourcing plan was designed to get outsourcing providers to compete with each other while also streamlining their operations by cooperating on standards. During his tenure, Szygenda's team also developed systems key to GM advances such as its OnStar vehicle safety system.

The GM CIO also joined with peers at other organisations, including the US Department of Defence, in support of best practice standards for buying software and services.

Szygenda was often sought out by industry organisations and the press to share his views on IT strategy and industry news.

In 2000, he said, for a story about career moves, that: "I have always been a businessperson first and a technologist second. And even though I've been in technology jobs, my work had to change the bottom line of business." Simply, the technology didn't interest him unless it affected change to the business process.

CIO UK sister title Network World named him one of its "Most Powerful People in Networking" numerous times, including in 2006 and Szygenda also belongs to CIO Magazine's CIO Hall of Fame.

Szygenda joined GM in 1996 from Bell Atlantic, where he was vice president and CIO. Before that, he held a slew of IT jobs at Texas Instruments.

Rivals Chrysler has recently re-engineered its IT processes. Like GM the global car maker is in deep trouble.