* Follows departures of CEO, CFO and R&D chief last year
* Opel appoints Vauxhall chairman as interim sales chief
FRANKFURT Jan 25 General Motors
subsidiary Opel lost sales chief Alfred Rieck on Friday, marking
another high profile departure for its ailing German business.
"We respect Alfred Rieck's decision and wish him all the
best for his professional future," said GM Vice Chairman Steve
Girsky in a statement on Friday.
The carmaker is battling a slump in car sales in Europe due
to the weak economic climate, which has squeezed consumer
When Rieck was appointed as sales chief for Opel and its UK
sister brand Vauxhall in July, first-half volumes in its core
European Union market were already down 15 percent, according to
figures from Europe's automotive industry association ACEA.
In the second half, Opel and Vauxhall sales declined at a
slightly faster pace, resulting in an overall 15.8 percent drop
to about 816,000 vehicles for the full year. The carmakers
combined market share shrank to 6.8 percent during the period
from 7.4 percent in 2011.
Several other top executives left Opel last year, including
its chief executive, finance chief and its head of research &
Before Rieck, 56, joined Opel to head sales and marketing at
the beginning of July, he was president of Volkswagen's
Skoda unit in China.
Rieck did not respond immediately to an emailed request
Opel named 43-year-old Duncan Aldred, chairman and managing
director of Vauxhall, GM's UK business, as interim head of sales
Aldred, who took over at Vauxhall in January 2010, has
succeeded in turning it into the country's fastest growing
brand, according to the company.
"He's a rising star in the company and has a bright future
ahead of him," said one Opel source.
Aldred already had a stint in Opel's Ruesselsheim
headquarters in Germany, when he took on the role of sales
operation director for GM Europe in April 2009.