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by David Zalstein

General Motors has appointed former Volkswagen chief Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann to the role of CEO of its European operations, Opel.

Neumann, 51, becomes chairman of the management board of Adam Opel AG, effective March 1, 2013, as well as president of GM Europe and vice president of GM.

He comes to Opel/Vauxhall from Volkswagen AG where he held the position of CEO and vice president of Volkswagen Group China.

Neumann fills the position left by Karl-Friedrich Stracke who departed in July last year. Since Stracke stepped down, Opel’s strategy chief Thomas Sedran and the chairman of the Opel supervisory board and GM vice chairman Steve Girsky, have both served as interim CEOs.

Girsky said Neumann had in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry and a proven track record in growing business and in turnarounds.

“He will add significant strength to the Management Board and will be instrumental in leading the company on a turnaround path that will be counted among Europe’s most successful,” Girsky said.

GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson stressed the importance of profitability and growth for its European operations saying, “Opel/Vauxhall is a key to General Motors’ global success.”

Neumann was awarded his doctorate degree in electrical engineering at the University of Duisburg.

Industry journal Automotive News reports that since 1999, GM’s European operations have lost $16.6 billion.




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