General Motors to appoint UAW’s Bob King to Opel board image

Bob King, the head of the United Auto Workers will join to the board of Opel AG, German business daily Handelsblatt reported late on Monday without saying where it got the information.

Bob King, president of the U.S. car labor union UAW, will be the fifth American representative in the body.

The supervisory, which is roughly equivalent to the company’s board of directors, has 20 seats that are divided equally between management and labor under the German principle of co-determination.

Handelsblatt wrote that King would be the first U.S. union representative elected to a German carmaker’s board in five years after the UAW gave up its seat on Daimler AG’s board following the sale of Chrysler.

Neither GM nor Opel were immediately available for comment.

Opel and Europe
The financial crisis in Europe is adding new urgency to General Motors Co.’s attempt to turn around its money-burning Opel unit.

Last September, during the Frankfurt Motor Show, General Motors executives were confident that their European operations were following the company’s restructuring plan to the letter and would break even.

However, in the first nine months of 2011 Opel lost US$580 million before interest and taxes. Breaking even went down the drain.

Chief Executive Dan Akerson has pushed for faster progress in turning around Opel and Vauxhall. Since 1999, GM has lost more than $13 billion on Opel, despite multiple restructuring efforts.

To cut costs, Opel could turn to cheaper materials, press suppliers on prices and make fewer parts itself, Capital reports, citing sources close to the business.