Globe-trotting British auto executive Nick Reilly, who has been running General Motors’ big Asian operations, is relocating halfway around the world – for now, anyway, as the temporary CEO of the maker’s troubled Opel unit.
The German-based Opel is in the midst of turmoil surrounding GM’s decision to back out of its planned sale to a Canadian-Russian consortium led by the giant auto supplier Magna International. The proposed deal, which had been forcefully backed by the German government, would have left GM a minority player, and was seen as a challenge to using Opel as a global product development center.
Last week, Opel’s CEO Carl-Peter Forster announced his resignation. He is expected to go to work for Jaguar-Land Rover, the British luxury marques now owned by India’s Tata Motors. That put GM into a scramble to find a new Opel boss who could manage the reverberations of the failed sale. German political leaders have raged about GM’s decision and German workers – who expected to get a 10% stake in the company after the sale – initially staged a walkout and withdrew an offer to grant Opel concessions.