Opel may appoint Karl-Thomas Neumann this week to lead its restructuring effort, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The former head of Volkswagen’s Chinese operations may be appointed as CEO on January 31 by Opel’s supervisory board. The unnamed sources said Neumann may take over in March
VW agreed to release Neumann from his contract three months before it expires in June, another source said. Neither Opel, nor Volkswagen commented on the issue. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s strategy chief, has been acting CEO after GM forced out Karl-Friedrich Stracke in July 2012.
51-year-old Neumann was passed over last June when VW created a new board position to focus on the Chinese operations and appointed Jochem Heizmann. Neumann previously worked at Volkswagen until 2004, when he left to join Continental AG. He was ousted as Continental CEO in 2009 after a dispute with Schaeffler AG, the German car-parts maker’s largest investor. He rejoined VW later that year. Opel sales chief Alfred Rieck, also a former VW executive, resigned last week after less than a year in the job.
GM wants to break even in Europe by 2015 after losing $17.3 billion on the continent since 1999. Within the next three years, GM Europe plans to cut $500 million in annual costs, after eliminating $300 million in spending and 2,600 jobs in 2012.