Opel names Renault exec Hochgeschurtz as next CEO

Opel/Vauxhall CEO Michael Lohscheller is stepping down after nearly four years and will be replaced by Uwe Hochgeschurtz, the head of Renault’s operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the automaker said.

Lohscheller, who was appointed CEO in 2017 when Opel was acquired by PSA Group, now part of Stellantis, “has decided to pursue a new challenge outside Stellantis,” Opel said in a release Tuesday.

Hochgeschurtz will start as CEO on Sept. 1 and will report to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. He will be a member of the group’s top executive team. He started his automotive career in 1990 at Ford Motor, and joined Volkswagen in 2001 and then Renault in 2004. He studied business administration at universities in Germany (Wupperthal and Cologne), the UK (Birmingham) and France (Paris Dauphine).

Lohscheller started his automotive career at Mitsubishi Europe in 2001. In 2004 he moved to Volkswagen Group, where he worked in marketing and served as chief financial officer for VW Group of America. He joined Opel as CFO in 2012 and was named CEO in July 2017, shortly after PSA Group bought Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors.

He was responsible for implementing the PACE turnaround plan under Tavares.

After losing tens of billions under GM ownership, Opel recorded a positive operating margin by 2018. Lohscheller was named an Automotive News Europe Eurostar in 2019 because of the turnaround.

Last week Lohscheller announced Opel would be an electric-only brand in Europe by 2028 and would expand into China as an EV maker, part of a push to increase the brand’s international sales.

“I would like to warmly thank Michael for having established strong sustainable foundations for Opel together with the employees,” Tavares said in the release. “This impressive turnaround paves the way for the forthcoming worldwide commercial development of the brand.”

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