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Nick Reilly has been with GM for 37 years (Photo: GM)

General Motors said Monday that veteran executive Nick Reilly, president of GM Europe, will retire in March.

He will be succeeded as president of the US carmaker’s European operations on Jan. 1 by Karl Stracke, who earlier succceeded Reilly at the head of GM’s Opel division.

Reilly, 61, has been with GM for 37 years. He was the first president and chief executive officer of GM Daewoo Auto and Technology in Korea when it was founded in 2002. He oversaw GM’s strong growth in Asia Pacific and Latin America and led a major restructuring at GM Europe in 2009.

“Nick Reilly has answered the call for GM at every turn,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.

Stracke, 55, returned to his native Germany in March 2011 to lead Opel/Vauxhall. He accelerating the company’s restructuring and helped it achieve a modest profit ahead of plan, GM said. Stracke was previously the vice president of GM Global Vehicle Engineering, based in Detroit.