GM set to appoint Thomas Sedran as stopgap CEO image

General Motors is expected to appoint a new CEO for Opel, after Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson fired Opel chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke during a visit to the German unit’s Ruesselsheim headquarters on July 12.

Akerson “impulsively” asked Stracke to resign after the German said that Opel would fall short of a 2016 savings target by more than 100 million euros ($122 million), according to Handelsblatt.

Thomas Sedran, a former restructuring consultant is expected get in as the new CEO of Opel according to a ranking source close to the situation.

The change means Opel will see its fourth CEO in less than three years. Hans Demant was pushed aside in November 2009 and was replaced two months later by Nick Reilly, who lasted until April 2011. Demant was more of a symbolic head who reported to European chief Carl-Peter Forster, who left in 2009 after GM killed a deal to sell Opel.

Fixing the General Motors unit, called Vauxhall in the UK, has become a top priority for GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson, who has demanded an end to more than $3.5 billion in underlying losses racked up after the U.S. parent emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 (more than $12 billion over the past dozen years).

Opel’s sales dipped by about 8 percent in the first half of 2012, the mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported on Friday. New registrations of Opel vehicles in Germany went down by 9.3 percent over the same period.

There has been such a drop in the market in Europe that if Opel doesn’t do anything, the loans provided by GM could be breached. GM can’t allow that to happen,” Berthold Huber, the head of Germany’s IG Metall union, which is closely involved in Opel’s restructuring talks said.

GM set up a €2.6bn intracompany loan facility in 2010 as part of a funding package to help Opel/Vauxhall’s restructuring and ongoing cash requirements.

It is not clear if this is the loan facility reffered to by Mr Huber or whether the loan has since been modified. A source close to the talks put the size of Opel’s credit facility at between €2bn and €2.5bn.