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Magna wants ex-Fiat CEO Demel to run Opel, magazine reports

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Magna wants ex-Fiat CEO Demel to run Opel, magazine reports

PAUL MCVEIGH

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

NOVEMBER 2, 2009 06:01 CET

MUNICH -- Magna International Inc. favors Herbert Demel, one its top executives, to head Opel, Germany's WirtschaftsWoche said.

Carl-Peter Forster, who is Opel chairman and General Motors Europe president, wants to leave the company, the magazine reported on its Web site.

Previous German press reports had said Forster was Magna's top choice to run Opel if the Canadian supplier wins control of the German-based unit of General Motors Co.

Citing Magna sources, WirtschaftsWoche on Sunday said that Magna co-CEO Siegfried Wolf wants Demel, whom the magazine said is one of his close advisors, to head Opel.

Demel, a former CEO of Fiat S.p.A's auto division and Volkswagen AG's Audi premium brand, is Magna's chief operating officer in charge of vehicles and powertrain at Graz, near Vienna, Austria.

He began his career at Robert Bosch GmbH in 1984 and moved to Audi in 1990, where he eventually became CEO. He later ran VW's Latin American operations and was Fiat CEO from November 2003 to February 2005.

GM's board is due to meet Tuesday to decide whether to press ahead with a deal to sell a 55 percent stake in Opel to Magna and its Russian partner Sberbank.

The deal, agreed in September, was called into question last month after European Union competition authorities expressed concerns about the fairness of the bidding process.

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