German automaker, Opel, announced recently that its CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, had stepped down from the position which he had held from April 2011. He has also resigned as the chairman of General Motors Europe, the company announced in a statement. The 56-year-old Stracke was only in this position for slightly more than a year. He will stay with GM and take on special projects, reporting to GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson.
GM vice-chairman, Steve Girsky, will serve as the acting chief of European operations while the company searches for Stracke's replacement. Michael Robinet, managing director of consulting firm IHS Automotive, commented that the surprise move showed that GM's upper management is growing more impatient with the slow pace of change in Europe as the economy deteriorates faster than expected.
Analysts put Stracke's resignation down to his inability to turn around a European car division that had run up billions of euros (dollars) in losses over the past 10 years. In June 2012, Opel's supervisory board approved a deep restructuring plan to get the company back on a sound financial footing while remaining vague about further plant closures in Europe.
Personally, I feel that Stracke should have been given more time to roll out his plans. Since Opel has been making losses for a decade, it would take a miracle to turn it around over just one year. Anyway, Stracke should count himself lucky as he still has a job.
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