General Motors chooses Volkswagen executive to take over troubled European business

General Motors has named the former head of Volkswagen's China business to head Opel, its unprofitable European arm.

The board of directors of Adam Opel AG on Thursday named 51-year-old Karl-Thomas Neumann as CEO.

General Motors Co. also named Neumann head of GM Europe and GM vice president.

Neumann formerly headed parts maker Continental AG and ran Volkswagen's China business for two years until August, 2012.

Opel, which makes both Opel and Vauxhall cars, has been headed on an interim basis by strategy chief Thomas Sedran since the abrupt resignation of CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke last year.

GM has struggled to turn around its European business, which has been hit by weak demand due to the eurozone debt crisis as well as tough competition in a crowded field for mass-market cars.