GM Names Nick Reilly Head of Opel

German automaker Opel said Friday that General Motors' (GM) Nick Reilly was named as the chief executive responsible for Opel and its sister brand Vauxhall as part of a broad restructuring.

Opel's supervisory board named Reilly, already head of General Motors Europe, to the post, making him responsible for all Opel and Vauxhall activities worldwide. He has worked for GM for 35 years.

Reilly, from Britain, had already begun drawing up a tough restructuring plan for Opel that includes 8,300 job cuts and could cost European governments up to €2.7 billion (US$3.9 billion) in state aid.

He replaced Hans Demant, who gave up the CEO post to become a GM vice president in charge of global intellectual property rights.

In December, US parent company GM began to replace Opel's directors after deciding not to sell the European division. It previously named GM financial director Walter Borst as head of Opel's supervisory board.

Opel also named Mark James, who previously worked with GM's Daewoo operations in South Korea, as its new chief financial officer.

Rita Forst, from Opel's technical development centre in Ruesselsheim, Germany, was named head of engineering.

The new board "will address our tasks quickly and with plenty of energy," Reilly said in the statement.

"We in particular will be on the offensive and will want to increase our market share in Europe."

Opel nonetheless said Friday that around 12,000 of its workers in Germany, roughly half its domestic workforce, will work fewer hours in January and February owing to slumping sales.

One of Reilly's first tasks will be to convince Opel's works council, which includes union officials, to accept the permanent job cuts it rejected in December.