Opel sales chief Rieck quits after half year in job
Vauxhall boss named interim replacement
Aldred is a rising star at GM's European operations
MUNICH -- Opel named Duncan Aldred as the automaker's acting sales and marketing chief after Alfred Rieck quit after just over six months in the post. Aldred, 43, is chairman and managing director of Vauxhall, Opel's UK sister brand.
Opel said the change was effectively immediately. "We respect Alfred Rieck's decision and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Steve Girsky, General Motors vice chairman and Opel supervisory board chairman said in a statement on Friday.
Rieck, 56, joined Opel as head of sales, marketing and aftersales in July last year. Previously, the Portuguese-born, multilingual executive had held management positions at Volkswagen Group, including Skoda in China and project manager of VW luxury cars. Prior to that, Rieck worked for Volvo in Sweden and in the Netherlands.
"He's thrown in the towel," one person familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Aldred, who retains his current post, was appointed managing director of Vauxhall in January 2010. He is credited with successfully building the Vauxhall brand and was named an Automotive News Europe Rising Star in 2012.
The English national joined Vauxhall as an undergraduate in 1990 and rose to senior posts including head of sales and marketing for GM South East Europe in Budapest and GM Europe's sales operations director at Opel's headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
Rieck joined Opel July 2012.
Opel has been hit hard by the European market slump and has seen a number of changes at the top. Volkswagen executive Karl-Thomas Neumann is set to become CEO on March 1, succeeding Karl-Friedrich Stracke who was moved by GM to other unspecified tasks last July. Since then former AlixPartners strategist Thomas Sedran has been acting CEO.
Opel's European new-car sales dropped 16 percent last year in a market down of 8 percent, according to industry association ACEA. GM aims to bring the money-losing brand back into profit by mid-decade and is stepping up pressure on Opel to cut costs.
Reuters contributed to this report