DETROIT -- Bob Lutz, General Motors Co.'s top marketing boss, will chair the supervisory board of GM's Opel unit and help steer a restructuring plan there now that GM has decided to retain control of the European automaker, a source close to GM told Automotive News.
Lutz, 77, will not take a direct management role in Opel, the source said. The supervisory board meets three or four times a year.
Lutz already is a member of the Opel supervisory board. The appointment will likely be made next week, the source said.
Lutz's added responsibilities were reported today by The Wall Street Journal.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson called the report “speculation at this point.”
He added: “We're not commenting on any of the leadership.”
This week GM's board -- after months of painstaking negotiations -- decided not to go ahead with a plan to sell 55 percent of Opel to a group led by Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. and the Russian bank Sberbank.
GM said Opel Europe President Carl-Peter Forster is leaving following the surprise decision by GM's board to keep Opel. Forster spoke out in favor of the Magna deal in mid-September.
Forster will continue to advise GM during an “immediate external search” for a new CEO, GM said in a statement.
GM plans to replace Forster temporarily with Nick Reilly, former managing director of Opel sister brand Vauxhall in the UK and current head of GM's international operations, the GM source said. Reilly will remain president of GM International, the source said.
“The Opel brand has made tremendous progress under Carl-Peter's tenure and leadership over the past several years,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in the statement. “We're confident that the key personnel leading Opel will stay focused on running the business during this time of transition.”
Henderson said no other management changes to the Opel Europe organization are being considered.
Reuters contributed to this report