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GM Appoints Former Volkswagen Exec To Head Troubled Opel

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Karl-Thomas Neumann

Karl-Thomas Neumann

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Last summer, General Motors’ European unit Opel made the surprise announcement that its chief, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, was being reassigned to a new role, and that its turnaround expert, Steve Girsky, would fill in as interim chief.

Since then, we’ve seen Opel enter an alliance deal with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen Group that will see the two automakers collaborate on a number of projects including the sharing of platforms and engines.

On top of that, we also saw Opel lose its design chief, David Lyon.

This week, Opel announced that more changes will be taking place, as it continues to overcome the economic downturn sweeping Europe.

The automaker has announced that Karl-Thomas Neumann, a former exec at Volkswagen and supplier Continental, will serve as its new chairman, effective March 1, 2013.

Neumann will also head GM Europe and is expected to play a key role in the global leadership of General Motors Company [NYSE:GM].

Neumann joins Opel from Volkswagen, where he headed the German auto giant’s operations in China. He lost that role back in June, possibly because he forecast down future growth levels.

In a statement, GM CEO Dan Akerson reaffirmed the importance of Opel to his company’s global success and said the latest move will ensure that Opel has the best possible leadership in place as it continues driving toward profitability and growth in Europe.

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