General Motors Co.’s head of Europe is leaving his post, effective immediately, just months away from the planned sale of the Opel and Vauxhall business in Europe to French automaker PSA Group, GM said Monday.
Karl-Thomas Neumann, a former Volkswagen AG executive who joined GM’s Opel division in 2013, will be replaced as CEO by Opel Chief Financial Officer Michael Lohscheller. Neumann will remain a member of the Opel management board until the closing of the Opel/Vauxhall sale to PSA. GM said the moves will ensure continuity for the business and a “seamless” transition for management to build a new strategic plan for Opel.
“It was a difficult personal decision to not continue with the Opel/Vauxhall team when it transitions to Group PSA,” Neumann said in a statement. “I am proud of the team for all we have accomplished so far and have no doubt that the move to PSA will make Opel/Vauxhall an even stronger and more successful company in the future. I am committed to completing this transaction and will then take some time to decide what is next for me.”
Neumann was named chairman of the Adam Opel AG board and president of GM Europe in March 2013. He became chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group GmbH in July 2014 and has been responsible for all GM operations in Europe.
“We have made tremendous progress in the turnaround of Opel/Vauxhall under Karl-Thomas’ leadership,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement. “We thank him for his significant contributions to Opel/Vauxhall and GM over the past four years.”
In March, GM agreed to sell its longtime, money-losing European business to PSA Group for $2.2 billion. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year. Some media reports say the transaction could close by the end of July.
Carlos Tavares, chairman of the managing board of PSA Group, said in a statement that PSA fully supports the decision to appoint Lohscheller to lead Opel.
Lohscheller has worked for GM and Opel since September 2012. He also came from Volkswagen, where he was chief financial officer of Volkswagen Group of America.