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Opel Group realigns Russian operations

Sep 16, 2014

  • Susanna Webber takes over leadership of Russian operations
  • St. Petersburg plant to speed up supplier localization, become  a one-shift operation and offer voluntary separations
  • GM-AVTOVAZ project for next generation Chevrolet Niva will be executed as planned


Opel News - Susanna Webber will be appointed President and Managing Director, GM Russia replacing Andy Dunstan who will focus his attention on sales and aftersales in Russia. Katherine Worthen will replace Susanna Webber in the Management Board of Opel Group

Ruesselsheim / Moscow. The Opel Group is taking immediate measures in Russia to react to the difficult market environment and realigns its Russian operations. Susanna Webber, previously a member of the Management Board and Managing Director of Purchasing and Supply Chain at Opel Group, will immediately become President and Managing Director of GM Russia. In addition, supplier localization will be sped up to better serve the St. Petersburg plant where production volumes will be reduced by moving back to a one-shift operation. The company will offer packages to enable voluntary employee separations.

 

“In 2013, Russia was our third biggest market behind the United Kingdom and Germany and is currently facing serious turbulences,” says Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group. “While we believe in the long term potential of Russia, there is significant immediate pressure on sales volumes and pricing while the ruble is deteriorating further. Since this is impacting our Opel Group business results and will continue to for the remainder of the year, we are taking measures now to limit our risk and stay on course.”

 

Susanna Webber will help stabilize the Russian operations and prepare the business for growth. Mrs. Webber has many years of experience within the automotive industry. She started her career with General Motors in 1997 and has held various positions in Purchasing, Supply Chain and Cost Management. Since 2010, Webber was responsible for Purchasing and Supply Chain in Europe. She was appointed a Management Board member of Adam Opel AG in January 2011 and became a member of the Management Board of Opel Group in July 2014. Webber’s successor in Ruesselsheim will be Katherine Worthen, previously GM Executive Director of Chassis Systems for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.

Andy Dunstan, who was Managing Director of Russia since November 2013, remains in Russia and is appointed Vice President of Sales & Aftersales. According to Dr. Neumann, “with his vast experience, Andy will continue to play a major role in the company’s efforts to stabilize the Russian operations.”

 

“We are monitoring the market development in Russia very closely and adjusting our expansion plans,” continues Dr. Neumann. “We remain committed to our investments in the GM-AVTOVAZ Joint Venture where we are preparing the launch of the next generation Chevrolet NIVA in 2016. New press and body shops and a new logistics center are part of the investment in the Samara region.” One of the main goals is to speed up supplier localization in Russia with the aim to reach 60 per cent average rate at the production sites.

 

GM’s European operations took over responsibility for the business in Russia in January 2014 from GM International Operations (GMIO). In the first eight months of 2014, new vehicle registrations in Russia declined 12.1 percent.

 

GM brands in Russia are Opel, Chevrolet and Cadillac. Their combined market-share in Russia is about 7.8 percent from January to August versus about 9 percent in the same period last year. The St. Petersburg plant currently builds the Opel Astra and the Chevrolet Cruze. Other Opel, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles are produced at the sites of our partners Avtotor in Kaliningrad and GAZ in Nizhniy Novgorod. Chevrolet NIVA is produced at the GM-AVTOVAZ Joint Venture in Togliatti.