MUNICH -- General Motors' Opel division today named Karl-Thomas Neumann as its new CEO. Neumann, 51, a former head of Volkswagen China and the supplier Continental, will take up the post on March 1, Opel said.
Neumann will also take the position of GM Europe president and become a member of GM's executive committee.
GM Chairman Dan Akerson said in a statement: "This move will ensure that we have the best possible leadership in place as we continue driving toward profitability and growth in Europe."
GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, who is also chairman of the Opel's supervisory board, said Neumann's track record in growing businesses in a profitable way will help lead the company on a "turnaround path that will be counted among Europe's most successful."
Neumann faces huge challenges in halting Opel's sliding European vehicle sales, which fell by 16 percent in 2012, double that of the industrywide decline, and returning the unit to breakeven by 2015, a move many observers say is too ambitious.