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Opel Names Sedran As Interim CEO

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 9:56am
The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — General Motor's money-losing Opel subsidiary has named Thomas Sedran as interim CEO while it looks for a permanent replacement for Karl-Friedrich Stracke, who abruptly resigned last week.

Sedran, 47, joined Opel in April as a top executive in charge of strategy. He has played a role in Opel's efforts to turn around years of losses, both as an outside consultant at restructuring firm AlixPartners and at Opel.

The Opel board of directors on Tuesday named Sedran deputy chairman of the management board, the top management body, and said he would act as chairman, or CEO, until a permanent chairman can be found.

The company said Sedran would keep his current job as chief of operations, business development and corporate strategies.

"We will continue to implement our business plan as it was outlined and work to improve it. We will further reduce bureaucracy and continue to challenge the corporate culture," said Opel board chairman Steve Girsky.

Stracke resigned just two weeks after presenting a plan to improve the struggling Opel and Vauxhall brands in Europe. The plan included new models in areas where the company was not represented and cost savings through an alliance with France's PSA Peugeot Citroen. The company was in talks with employee representatives that foresaw closing its plant in Bochum, Germany, in 2017 and asking employees to forego a recently bargained raise.

GM head Dan Akerson praised Stracke, who is to work on special projects for the company. But industry experts say Stracke's departure may be a sign that GM is impatient with the pace of restructuring its European business and ending losses there.

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