Today, Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann has announced that he will be stepping down as Opel CEO, confirming various reports that came out over the weekend. His replacement is Opel's current chief financial officer, Michael Lohscheller effective immediately.
"It was a difficult personal decision to not continue with the Opel/Vauxhall team when it transitions to Groupe PSA. I am proud of the team for all we have accomplished so far and have no doubt that the move to PSA will make Opel/Vauxhall an even stronger and more successful company in the future. I am committed to completing this transaction and will then take some time to decide what is next for me,” Neumann said in a statement released today.
Neumann will stay on Opel's management board until the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Groupe is completed.
Reports of Neumann's department popped up on Saturday by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Their report said a key reason for his departure was concerns about PSA Group not fully valuing the importance of electric vehicles. It should be noted the paper did not cite a source for this claim. As we reported back in February, Neumann was working on a secret plan on transitioning the brand to selling only electric vehicles.
Then on Sunday, Reuters learned from a source that Volkswagen was considering re-hiring Neumann - possibly as CEO for Audi. Before joining GM, Neumann was in charge of Volkswagen's operations in China.
Current Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is under fire due to the recent reveal of illegal software installed on certain A7 and A8 TDIs in Europe.
Michael Lohscheller Appointed New CEO of Opel
Rüsselsheim. Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann has stepped down as the Speaker of the Management Board and CEO of Adam Opel GmbH today. He remains a member of the Management Board until the closing of the sale of Opel/Vauxhall to Groupe PSA. Michael Lohscheller, Opel CFO since September 2012, has been unanimously appointed as his successor with immediate effect by the Supervisory Board. This will ensure continuity for the business and its stakeholders as well as a seamless managerial transition with the priority task to build the new strategic plan for Opel.
According to Dr. Neumann, “it was a difficult personal decision to not continue with the Opel/Vauxhall team when it transitions to Groupe PSA. I am proud of the team for all we have accomplished so far and have no doubt that the move to PSA will make Opel/Vauxhall an even stronger and more successful company in the future. I am committed to completing this transaction and will then take some time to decide what is next for me.”
“We have made tremendous progress in the turnaround of Opel/Vauxhall under Karl-Thomas’ leadership,” said Dan Ammann, Opel Supervisory Board Chairman and President, General Motors. “We thank him for his significant contributions to Opel/Vauxhall and GM over the past four years.”
Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Adam Opel GmbH and Head of the General Works Council: “The worker representatives within the Supervisory Board respect Dr. Neumann’s decision. He has managed to regain recognition with Opel, an improved brand image and a strengthened self-awareness, coupled with competitive, outstanding models. The decision to appoint the current CFO and member of the management board Michael Lohscheller as the new CEO is explicitly supported by us.”
Michael Lohscheller said: “I would like to thank the Supervisory Board for the trust. We will stay on the current path and continue to gain strength as part of the Groupe PSA. After the expected closing of the transaction, a new European champion will emerge. I am looking forward to the new task and to working together with the management team to implement a successful future plan for the benefit of all 38,000 Opel/Vauxhall employees and its stakeholders.”