3 candidates who could lead Opel's recovery
Nick Gibbs is U.K. correspondent for Automotive News Europe.
Who will be the next head of General Motors' troubled Opel/Vauxhall unit? The list of candidates should include former GM purchasing boss Bo Andersson, former Renault No. 2 Patrick Pelata and Jean-Marc Gales, who was second in command at PSA Peugeot Citroen until earlier this year.
Karl-Friedrich Stracke left the Opel job this month. Restructuring specialist Thomas Sedran was named Stracke's interim successor.
Andersson, 56, who now heads GAZ Group, led a restructuring of the Russian automotive giant. He joined GAZ in 2009 after bad investments put the company 1 billion euros in debt. In less than three years, he has made the company profitable.
The Swedish native left GM during its bankruptcy reshuffle. He stayed friendly, and those ties helped GAZ win a contract to build Chevrolets in Russia.
Pelata, 56, resigned as Renault's COO last year in the wake of a scandal that involved false allegations of corporate espionage. He remained at the company before announcing recently that he would depart in August. Pelata was a trusted ally of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. His knowledge of how Ghosn brought the two companies together would be invaluable to GM as it tries to build a partnership with PSA.
Gales, 49, is a former PSA board member who could be useful in helping the GM-PSA partnership work. Currently head of European supplier body CLEPA, Gales was appointed to take PSA upmarket as head of brands and was considered successful. He left PSA in March amid rumors that he clashed with CEO Philippe Varin.
Gales was global sales director at Mercedes-Benz from 2006 to 2009 and has been a marketing director at Volkswagen, and as well as a sales and marketing executive for Opel and Saab in central Europe.
Gales, who was born in Luxembourg, also gained knowledge of China as director of PSA partner Dongfeng Motors. His keenness to expand in emerging markets would play well at Opel, which plans to target Brazil with low-cost cars as part of the PSA alliance.
You can reach Nick Gibbs at email@example.com.