Lutz will chair Opel board; CEO Forster will leave
Head of GM's international unit, Nick Reilly, seen as replacement
Bob Lutz: Will not take a direct management role at Opel.
Lutz, 77, will not take a direct management role in Opel, the source said. The supervisory board meets three or four times a year.
Lutz already is a member of the Opel supervisory board. The appointment will likely be made next week, the source said.
Lutz's added responsibilities were reported today by The Wall Street Journal.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson called the report “speculation at this point.”
He added: “We're not commenting on any of the leadership.”
This week GM's board -- after months of painstaking negotiations -- shelved a plan to sell 55 percent of Opel to a group led by Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. and the Russian bank Sberbank.
Also today, GM announced that the CEO of Opel Europe, Carl-Peter Forster, is leaving following the surprise decision by GM's board to keep Opel. Forster spoke out in favor of the Magna deal in mid-September.
Forster will continue to advise GM during an “immediate external search” for a new CEO, GM said in a statement.GM plans to replace Forster temporarily with Nick Reilly, former plant director at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in northwest England and current head of GM's international operations, the GM source said. Reilly will remain president of GM International, the source said.
“The Opel brand has made tremendous progress under Carl-Peter's tenure and leadership over the past several years,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in the statement. “We're confident that the key personnel leading Opel will stay focused on running the business during this time of transition.”
Henderson said no other management changes to the Opel Europe organization are being considered.
Reuters contributed to this report
PRESS RELEASE: Carl-Peter Forster Leaving Post at Opel Europe
November 06, 2009
DETROIT – Carl-Peter Forster, GM group vice president and president, Opel Europe, will be leaving his role as head of European operations and will advise the company during the transition to find a new CEO, it was announced today.
With the departure of Forster, GM will initiate an immediate external search for a new CEO for Opel Europe and will work with Opel leadership, in consultation with representatives of the European Employees Forum, in moving forward with a plan that will build a strong and enduring future for the Opel/Vauxhall brands.
“The Opel brand has made tremendous progress under Carl-Peter's tenure and leadership over the past several years,” said GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson. “We thank him for his significant accomplishments and wish him only the best in the future. In the meantime, we're confident that the key personnel leading Opel will stay focused on running the business during this time of transition. We expect to finalize our proposals for establishing Opel/Vauxhall's future next week and will be engaging all stakeholders to see how we can best work together in achieving our mutual goals. We will update on our progress as soon as is possible.”
Henderson added that no other management changes to the Opel Europe organization are being considered at this time, and that all key management roles remain while the search for a CEO to lead Opel Europe commences.
“The past few years building the Opel brand has been a tremendous personal opportunity,” said Forster. “We've seen great strides in design, quality and technology and the launch of truly world-class products. It's been an honor to be part of the history of Opel, and I wish all the people with the organization only the best in what I'm certain will be a great future."
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