Karl-Friedrich Stracke, CEO of Opel/Vauxhall and president of GM Europe, stepped down from the position to pursue “special assignments” with GM. The ex-exec will now report directly to GM CEO Dan Akerson in his new role.
GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky has been appointed to lead GM’s European operations until a replacement can be found to lead the troubled brands. In the meantime, Adam Opel AG’s board will convene soon to appoint an interim chairman to sit in for Girsky on the management board.
“I am leaving my current position knowing that Opel/Vauxhall has a bright future,” Stracke said in a release. “And I look forward to taking on new challenges for GM and Dan Akerson.”
This development follows years of financial losses for GM’s European arm, which lost $582 million through the first three quarters of 2011, and $1.76 billion a year prior. Since 1999, GM Europe has lost $14.7 billion. If Opel continues on this losing streak, GM’s U.S. operations may also be affected. At what point should GM cut its losses? Should the automaker pull out of Europe entirely to focus on its home market and others or stick with Opel as it attempts to reverse its fortunes?