Many questions, few answers concerning Opel's future. New management team is coming.
In an unusual Saturday conference call from Rüsselsheim, Germany, the newly appointed President of General Motors Europe, Nick Reilly, said the Opel CEO search has been abandoned.
Reilly is taking the job, vacant since early November when Karl-Peter Forster left, and adding it to his President of GM Europe role.
General Motors will now have three presidents; one for the U.S., the newly appointed Mark Reuss; one for Asia Pacific and Latin America, the newly appointed Tim Lee; and Reilly as president of GM Europe.
Reilly will be accountable for the results of both Opel/Vauxhall, while running it, and Chevrolet Europe, which will continue to be managed by Wayne Brannon.
More changes at GM are coming, said Reilly, who will announce a new Opel/Vauxhall management team next week. Reilly refused comment on any individuals. However, he continued to hint, without specifying where, that large cuts are coming.
The latest moves follow the resignation (or more likely firing) earlier in the week of Fritz Henderson as CEO, a post now assumed for an unknown length of time by U.S. Treasury Department appointee as Chairman of the Board, Ed Whitacre.
In another hastily called press conference last week, Whitacre refused questions and read only a statement about Henderson’s departure. Whitacre promised he would answer questions, soon, about GM’s latest moves, but has since cancelled a press conference scheduled for the upcoming week.
Clearly, loss-making GM is undergoing more wrenching changes, and its strategy is still emerging, if there is any clear strategy at all. What is certain is that the company is running out of time doing business in old ways — if it is to return to profitability and have a remote chance of repaying the $60 billion it owes taxpayers.