Opel sales chief's departure is further blow to troubled brand
MUNICH -- Opel sales and marketing chief Alfred Rieck has quit his post, marking another high-profile departure for the troubled General Motors Co. division.
Opel named 43-year-old Duncan Aldred, chairman and managing director of Vauxhall, GM's UK business, as interim head of sales and marketing.
Finding a permanent successor to Rieck will add to the tough tasks faced by new CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann, a former Volkswagen China chief, who is set to take the helm on March 1.
GM aims to bring money-losing Opel back into profit by mid-decade and is battling German unions to reduce costs and cut excess capacity by closing a plant in Bochum.
Rieck, 56, a former head of VW Group's Skoda brand in China, joined Opel as head of sales, marketing and aftersales in July last year. The Portuguese-born executive was unable to halt Opel's sales slide. The brand's EU vehicle sales fell by nearly 16 percent to just under 816,000 in 2012, double the overall market decline of 8 percent to 12 million, according to industry association ACEA.
"We respect Alfred Rieck's decision and wish him all the best for his professional future," said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky in a statement on Friday.
Several other top executives left Opel last year, including CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke, who was moved by GM to other unspecified tasks, finance chief Mark James and head of research & development Rita Forst.
Aldred will run sales for Opel and Vauxhall.
Aldred, who was named acting sales and marketing boss at Opel on Friday but will keep his current job, is credited with turning Vauxhall into the UK's fastest-growing brand, according to the company. He took over at Vauxhall in January 2010 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.
Reuters contributed to this report
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