PSA Group pledges to keep the national identity of the Opel and Vauxhall brands it formally has taken over from General Motors.
The French automaker also announces four key leadership changes to drive the German and U.K. brands forward. The signings include:
- Christian Müller, previously vice-president global propulsion systems-Europe and with Opel since 1996, succeeds William F. Bertagni as vice president-engineering. He will integrate engineering and powertrain in one department.
- Remi Girardon, previously senior vice president-group industrial strategy at Groupe PSA, will succeed Philip R. Kienle as vice president-manufacturing.
- Philippe de Rovira, previously group controller at Groupe PSA, will become the new chief financial officer of Opel, following Michael Lohscheller, who was named Opel CEO in June.
- Michelle Wen, director-group supply chain management network at Vodafone Procurement, will join the Opel leadership team effective Sept. 1, replacing Katherine Worthen, currently vice president-purchasing and supply chain. All other moves are effective immediately.
PSA restates its assurance when the purchase agreement was signed in March that employee codetermination rights will remain unchanged. The Opel/Vauxhall management team will work on a plan for the future in the next 100 days.
PSA executives believe there are positive synergies within the enlarged group, for example in purchasing and development, that are set to play a major part in future plans. It hopes to achieve substantial economies of scale and in purchasing, manufacturing and R&D projected at €1.7 billion ($2 billion). It also hopes to generate positive operational cash flow by 2020 as well as an operating margin of 2% by 2020 and 6% by 2026.
Lohscheller is conducting planning with a much leaner management structure.
“We are reducing complexity and increasing speed,” the CEO says. “I am looking forward to shaping the next chapter of Opel/Vauxhall with the new management team and leading our company into a successful future. The owners and the employees will not be the only ones to benefit from ever stronger Opel and Vauxhall brands – our customers will do so, too.”
Opel/Vauxhall and PSA Group are expected to continue to work with GM in the future. In addition to development in the area of electric propulsion, Opel plants will continue to produce vehicles for the Buick and Holden GM brands.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of GM Financial’s European operations is under way, subject to validation by the regulatory authorities’ review and scheduled for second-half 2017.