General Motors’ European department Opel is losing its top executive just as it plans to be acquired by France’s PSA Group, a move that could see the former Volkswagen manager rejoin the German leviathan.
Karl-Thomas Neumann, 56, who restored Opel’s image and track record since taking the helm in March 2013, on Monday gave up his post, making way for finance chief Michael Lohscheller to work as the next CEO of the automaker.
German-based Opel will be pushed by its new owners PSA to draw up a strategy to return to benefit once the acquisition, concurred in March valuing the GM’s European arm at 2.2 billion euros ($ 2.46 billion), closes later on this year.
“Under Neumann’s management we have made massive progress in turning around Opel,” GM President Dan Ammann stated.
VW is taking a look at rehiring Neumann, perhaps to lead its Audi high-end division, where CEO Rupert Stadler has come under fire for his management of the emissions scandal, a source informed Reuters on Sunday.
A growing expansion by Volkswagen into electric cars and digital services as part of a post-dieselgate tactical shift could be another factor to join for Neumann, a skilled electronic engineer, analysts stated.
“The prospects ready that he will move to Volkswagen,” stated Bankhaus Metzler expert Juergen Pieper. “He’s one of Germany’s most prominent vehicle managers and VW remains in terrific need for exceptional people.”