GM Europe to get new leader from Opel image

General Motors Europe has named the chief executive officer of its German brand Adam Opel GmbH to head of all of its European operations, effective Jan. 1.

Karl-Friedrich Stracke will replace Nick Reilly, who is retiring after 37 years with GM in Asia, Europe and Latin America, the company said in a statement Monday.

He (Nick Reilly) is recognized as one of the most influential British executives in the industry.

Reilly, 61, held top posts at GM, including head of international operations based in Shanghai, until he was dispatched in late 2009 to restructure GM Europe, which consists primarily of its German carmaker Adam Opel.

Stracke, 55, became CEO of the Opel and Vauxhall brands in March. Stracke will add the title of president of GM Europe on Jan. 1, GM said Monday in a statement.

Since 1999, GM has lost more than $14 billion on Opel, despite multiple restructuring efforts.

The company’s European operations earned $102 million before taxes and interest in the second quarter of 2011 following a first-quarter loss of $390 million.

Automakers have been enjoying stable and healthy sales in October in emerging markets but are worried about the outlook for the European continent, where governments are struggling with sovereign debt woes and austerity measures are biting into consumer spending power.