GM Management Shifts Will Put Opel CEO to the Test


General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) decision to wind back its relationship with PSA Peugeot Citroen and focus its European efforts on its native Opel brand have led to some management changes that will see Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann put to the test to turn the name around, Reuters reports.

Neumann is Opel’s sixth boss in the past 10 years, and he has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the company. Under his command, Opel was able to secure a multibillion-euro investment from parent company GM, and Neumann has applauded General Motors’ decision to pull the Chevy brand from Europe in order to better focus on Opel and Vauxhall.

However, with that decision, GM’s recovery in the troubled European market lies squarely with Neumann and the Opel brand. And with Mary Barra taking the reins at General Motors in January from current CEO Dan Akerson, some Opel executives are concerned that Barra’s approach of smoothing out the wrinkles in global product development will not be beneficial for Opel.

Opel constantly “feels pressure to use global platforms and to minimize the level of expensive customization for the European market has handicapped its ability compete,” Reuters quotes a former Opel executive as saying.