gm visser sedran.automotiveIT

At Opel, Visser (left) is leaving to join Chevrolet, while consultant Sedran is joining the German GM brand (Photo: GM)

Opel gained a new board member for operations but lost senior executive Alain Visser to General Motors sister brand Chevrolet.

The German car company said Thomas Sedran, a senior consultant with AlixPartners, will join Opel as board member in charge of operations, business development and corporate strategies.

Sedran, 47, will be an Opel/Vauxhall vice president and will start in his new position April 1.

His move comes at a critical time for Opel, which is losing money at a time when the rest of GM is profitable. The European brand's financial troubles have raised expectations that parent GM is asking for sharper cost reductions. At the same time, speculation has reignited that GM may want to sell the brand.

Visser is moving to Chevrolet to take charge of the brand's global marketing and sharpen Chevrolet"s global market profile, GM said. He will report to GM's chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick, and will start March 1.

The global Chevrolet marketing position is a new one. Visser will focus especially on markets outside North and South America, GM said.

Visser has been an Opel board member" since 2004 and has been a key player in the brand's efforts to return to profitable growth. Said Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke: "Alain Visser has led the repositioning of Opel and has decisively raised the brand's image."

Sedran is expected to play an important role in mapping out the new strategy for the struggling Opel brand. Stracke said in a press release: "He will be a key player as we develop profitable growth strategies for Europe and for export sales as well as collaboration and partnering strategies in the industry.”

-Arjen Bongard