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Girsky Named Opel Chairman

Corporate troubleshooter aims to reverse recent losses.

by on Nov.22, 2011

Former Wall Street analyst Steve Girsky will now be leading GM's struggling Opel subsidiary.

General Motors Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky, the company’s chief troubleshooter, has been named Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Adam Opel AG, effective immediately. Girsky replaces Nick Reilly, who recently resigned from the board as a member and chairman and will retire from GM next March.

The shake-up follows word that Opel once again went into the red for the third quarter after two black quarters.  The German-based subsidiary has been struggling for years and GM nearly sold off a majority stake in Opel following the humbled U.S. giant’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2009.

“With Steve Girsky as Chairman of the Board and Karl Friedrich Stracke as (the new) President of GM Europe and CEO of Opel/Vauxhall, GM has two highly experienced leaders to take Opel to the next level,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “They will build on the hard work that’s been done under Nick Reilly’s leadership to return our European operations to sustainable profitability.”

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Girsky steps into the role just as the European auto industry is grappling with the prospects of another recession. Only last week, Akerson warned Europe’s financial woes could lead to another economic downturn that could ripple across the globe. However, even before the financial crisis gripped Europe, Opel and GM Europe — of which it is the principle component — had failed to meet its turnaround target and Akerson had vowed to make fixing the European operation one of his key priorities.