Opel picks former restructuring consultant as stopgap CEO
Prior to joining Opel's board in April, Sedran, 47, was a senior executive at consultancy AlixPartners, where he worked closely with the automaker.
MUNICH -- Opel has appointed Thomas Sedran as its interim CEO. The former restructuring consultant will serve as the money-losing General Motors unit's boss until a permanent CEO is found, Opel said in a statement today.
Sedran, 47, was an automotive consultant for nearly 20 years before he joined Opel in April from AlixPartners to take on the newly created position of board member for operations, business development and corporate strategy. The German native will continue to hold that post, where his duties include ensuring long-term profitable growth at Opel and UK sister brand Vauxhall.
While at AlixPartners, which is based in suburban Detroit, Sedran worked closely with Opel during GM's 2009 bid to sell the automaker. GM reversed its plans in November of that year.
Sedran replaces Karl-Friedrich Stracke, who resigned as Opel CEO and GM Europe president last Thursday. Sedran will work closely with Steve Girsky, who succeeded Stracke as GM Europe president last week.
Fixing the European unit has become a top priority for GM CEO Dan Akerson, who has demanded an end to more than $3.5 billion in losses racked up by the division since its U.S. parent emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
Since deciding in November 2009 against the sale of a majority stake in Opel, GM has replaced its European president and Opel CEO three times and is planning its second round of restructuring including the closure of a German manufacturing plant in Bochum in 2016.
While Stracke's departure may appease investors on Wall Street demanding quick results, observers in Germany have criticized the timing as short sighted and some even question whether Opel can ever really recover from the constant turmoil.
Sedran's biggest challenge will be rehabilitating Opel's severely damaged brand image in Germany, where its market share has dwindled to record low levels this year.
From 2006 until this year, Sedran was AlixPartners' head of automotive business affairs. Prior to joining AlixPartners, Sedran was with consultancy Roland Berger, where he was the global head of the company's automotive competence center. Sedran has an MBA from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, and was born in Augsburg, Germany.
You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at firstname.lastname@example.org.