Just hours before General Motors announced that it wasn't going to sell Opel, GM Europe head Carl-Peter Forster said publicly that Opel would be better off under the control of Magna. Talk about bad timing. Now that GM is keeping Opel, Forster is out as the head of the General's European operations. A couple of familiar names will step in, at least on an interim basis.
Bloomberg reports that GM Vice Chairman and head of Marketing and Communications Bob Lutz is taking over as interim chairman of the Opel supervisory board until a permanent leader can be chosen. The bombastic Lutz has suddenly found himself with increasing responsibility after semi-retiring back in April. Fellow GM exec Nick Reilly will lead the Opel and Vauxhall units until a replacement can be found.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement that the hunt is on for a new Opel CEO and that no other management moves were imminent. Henderson went on to say that Opel improved under Forster, which is a real compliment when you consider that Forster replaced Fritz as head of GM Europe back in 2004. Word on the street is that GM could pick a German executive for the Opel post, due mostly to the fact that Germany wasn't very happy about GM's decision to scuttle the sale to Magna. Magna's plan called for fewer layoffs within Germany and more in other European countries.