* Neumann on course to sign Opel contract next year - source
* Neumann in advanced talks with Opel - source
* Neumann, VW terminated contract earlier this summer
By Andreas Cremer and Jan Schwartz
BERLIN/HAMBURG, Nov 2 General Motors'
Opel division may appoint former Volkswagen manager Karl-Thomas
Neumann as chief executive next year, company sources said, as
the U.S. car maker aims to revamp its loss-making European
Neumann, previously head of VW's China
operations, may sign a contract with Opel in 2013, two sources
at VW group said on Friday on condition they not be identified
because the matter is still private.
Neumann, who was also CEO of auto parts and tyre maker
Continental between Sept 2008 and Aug 2009, would be
the 17th CEO at Ruesselsheim-based Opel since the car maker's
heydays in the early 1970s.
Fixing Opel, which trades as Vauxhall in Britain, has become
a top priority for GM chief executive Dan Akerson, who has
demanded an end to the $3.5 billion in underlying losses racked
up after the U.S. parent emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
Financial Times Deutschland reported the move late on
Thursday, saying that Neumann's appointment still required
approval of Opel's supervisory board.
The earliest Neumann would take over as Opel CEO was next
summer due to barring clauses, FTD said, without citing its
GM, which said on Wednesday it expects a full-year operating
loss of $1.5 to $1.8 billion in Europe, had appointed Thomas
Sedran, formerly with turnaround consultants AlixPartners, as
interim CEO on July 17.
Neumann is in advanced negotiations with Opel after he and
VW agreed to terminate his contract earlier this summer
following a reshuffle of managers at the VW group, one of the
sources said. Neumann, aged 51, took the helm of VW's China
operations on Sept 1, 2010.
VW and Opel declined to comment.