By on November 1, 2009

Magna’s man Demel. Picture courtesy

The sale of GM’s Opel to Magna/Sberbank  is being mulled-over in Brussels (decision by November 27, maybe.) Sperbank’s Oligarch Oleg Deripaska finally was allowed to enter the United States after his visa was denied because of mob-related suspicions. He finally met Fritz Henderson, and some FBI agents. There is talk that GM doesn’t want to let go of Opel’s R&D. Will it ever end? Magna thinks so. A Magna man is ready to take the helm.

Up until recently, GME’s Carl-Peter Forster wanted  to be the leader of the operative part of Opel. Magna’s guy was supposed to get the more or less honorary title of Chairman  of the Opel Holding. Now, Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche reports that Herbert Demel will become CEO of Opel – if and when the deal is finally consumed.

Demel heads up Magna-Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria, where cars for BMW and Daimler are developed and made. Demel  was CEO of  Fiat Auto and Audi – he has plenty of car experience. According to Wirtschaftswoche, Forster is looking for another job. And what will happen to the current Opel CEO Hans Demant? He and his labor leader Klaus Franz were early adopters of the “set Opel free” movement. While Franz is having daily press appearances, it became quiet around Demant.

Then, there ist another interesting development: Opel is rolling in money! Even if Brussels won’t decide on November 27, it won’t be the end of Opel. Rheinische Post reports that the bridge loan given by the German government will last well into the new year. Automobilwoche [sub] says that the complete loan has never been paid out, and some of it may even have been paid back. GM may not have to sell after all.

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6 Comments on “Magna’s Demel Ready to Take Opel Helm...”

  • avatar

    Interesting news. Don’t get too excited about rumors, though. The idea that Opel is rolling in money and GM won’t have to sell is probably, if true, an accounting fiction. Even after Enron, accountants can turn lead, seemingly, to gold.

    The rumor about the head of Magna-Steyr taking over Opel sounds right to me, though. Frank Stronach seems to really like Magna-Steyr. And Stronach’s foray into making cars with Opel comes from a long-held desire. He’s thought about this obsessively.

  • avatar

    Mr.Demel has plenty of car experience. That is correct. Maybe you should also mention that he was ousted at Audi by Mr.Piech for his competence , moved to VW do Brasil, outsted there again for almost sending the unit down the drain.
    Then he went to Fiat where he thought he could convince the Italians to use English as the formal language in management meetings and confronted with the Fiat 500 idea told his superiors to abandon it due to the fact, as he thought, the vehicle would never sell.The result:Ousted again.
    Magna is famous for sucking up highly qualified polticians( especially left -overs from Austria) and former managers that due to their competence no other vehicle manufacturer can afford to employ.

  • avatar

    The main character in this circus is connected to mobsters. The question du jour: are his connection go inside Kremlin walls or outside as well? Opel goes to mobster. Great ending.

  • avatar

    Very curious, in Italy, they are busting and perp-walking the mobsters (and are now set to put their Premier on trial), but it seems the Germans are willing to facilitate them (Realpolitik-redux?), and the Americans are willing to look the other way…

    BTW, anyone else wonder if the delay in entry was due to Fritz asking his employers for a little help there??

  • avatar

    My guess it was Putin asking Fritz’s employer for professional courtesy.

  • avatar

    +1 Dadude53

    It’s always curious to se how some execs get so much slack cut, when clearly their previous efforts have not been up to snuff. Hummm, having a very hard time digesting this one. FWIW everybody in the bizz in Brazil seems to despise him…

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