Opel’s New CEO Neumann to Be Appointed Sooner image

Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel’s new CEO, will take office four months sooner than expected, on March 1st, according to an anonymous source.

In November, it was unclear when Karl-Thomas Neumann will be named Opel’s CEO, but now the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that VW, Neumann’s former employer, decided to unexpectedly let the manager out of his contract before it expires on June 30th. GM decided to hire Neumann as Opel’s CEO as part of its plan to bring back on the track the automaker’s money-losing European business.

At VW Neumann oversaw the company’s operations in China and even if the automaker’s sales in the country have been robust, he fell out of favor with top executives and lost his job earlier this year. Currently Opel is being handled on an interim basis by restructuring expert Thomas Sedran since April. Mr Sedran comes from consulting firm AlixPartnerswhere and he recently helped GM to create an alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

On January 10th, Opel’s interim Chief Executive Thomas Sedran said at a ceremony at the automaker’s plant in Eisenach, Germany, that even if the European auto market is expected to shrink 4% this year, the car maker has no plans for future plant closures and GM is still decided not to sell its European brand.