Neumann said to take helm at Opel early after VW relents on non-compete clause
Neumann: Early start at Opel?
MUNICH -- Volkswagen is prepared to allow Karl-Thomas Neumann to leave the automaker before his contract runs out to become CEO of Opel, reports said.
Opel wants Neumann, a veteran automaker and supplier executive, as its new head as soon as possible, according to reports.
Automotive News Europe sources had said last year that Neumann's appointment was delayed because VW had invoked a non-compete clause, which prevented him from joining a direct competitor.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn also did not want Neumann, a former VW China chief, to take his knowledge of VW's plans in China to Opel parent General Motors, according to Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
On Sunday, German weekly Der Spiegel and Reuters said Neumann will start as Opel CEO on March 1 after VW unexpectedly agreed to let him out of his contract before it expires on June 30.
Neumann, 51, was head of VW's China operations until last June when he was replaced by VW veteran Jochem Heizmann. He was CEO of German supplier Continental before he rejoined VW in 2009. The electronics engineer had spent a large part of his early career at VW
At Opel, Neumann will replace Thomas Sedran, the carmaker's acting CEO.
Opel said it wouldn't comment on personnel issues. Volkswagen also declined comment.