Currently reading: Forster to quit GM Europe
Forster reportedly leaves GM Europe over handling of Magna deal

GM’s head of European operations, Carl-Peter Forster, is to quit the company following the collapse of the deal to sell Opel to Magna, German newspaper Der Spiegel has reported.

GM executive vice president David Reilly would replace Forster, the report said.

One reason cited for Forster’s departure was his disapproval at the way the GM handled the Opel/Magna deal.

GM cancels Opel saleSteve Cropley blog: GM keeping Vauxhall is great newsA brief history of MagnaA brief history of GM

GM this week decided against selling its European operations, citing improved business for the u-turn.

US sales of General Motors vehicles rose in September for the first time in almost two years, the company recently announced.

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sorrel 6 November 2009

Re: GM Europe head Forster 'quits'

Well said!

Gwar 6 November 2009

Re: GM Europe head Forster 'quits'

richardhead wrote:
well of course it was! It was thee and only reason - don't be so prissy and disingenuous. The man had shook hands, had verbal and written understandings, made contractual agreements with his negotiating partners at Magna, European goverments' representatives and workers representatives only for some US Car Czar appointed pillock to toss the whole thing over.

Well its late lunchtime and i cant help but rise to the bait...

Clearly you are very angry about this, but the simple legal fact of the matter is that regardless of all of the other undertakings that you list, there was no final fully executed contract for the sale of Opel/Vauxhall to Magna. It seems clear that a final draft had almost been agreed, but until it is executed it has no legal effect, and the GM Board have done nothing legally wrong. The ethics and morals of their behaviour are an entirely different and subjective matter, but that does not affect the fact that the contract had not been executed and GM was fully entitled to pull out at any time up to the point of signature.

Further, everyone keeps talking about the deals various other parties (like the unions) had alreay done with Magna, but again legally that is not GM's problem. If you chose to spend lots of money and many hours negotating with a party before it actually own the thing you are negotiating about, then you do so at your own commercial risk. That is business. Tough.

Finally, by law, the officers of GM have a legal duty to act in the best interests of GM, no-one else. By Law they were obliged to weigh the deal again, as circumstances changed. If it was the majority conclusion of the Board that the deal was no longer in the best interests of GM then they had to do what they did. It is their legal duty as officers of the company.

The simple fact is lots of people got involved in this whole process who appear to have no real experience of the sharp end of business, and they got burned. That's business. GM has done nothing wrong in law, and morals and ethics have nothing to do with it. Sad, but true.

sorrel 6 November 2009

Re: GM Europe head Forster 'quits'

Your last paragraph I agree with 100%! Except, sadly the revenue from the oil and gas resources doesn't seem to filter down to sorting out the nation's infrastructure. Moscow does very well out of it, of course, but to hell with the rest of the country. Sad, because Russia has so much to offer, given the right support and a decent set of politicians (sound like somewhere we know a bit closer to home?? lol).

I remain to be convenced that the Opel/Magna deal would have been good for any of the European factories long term, but I guess we'll never know now, will we.

The problem with the Russian motor industry is not actually a lack of knowledge. It's the inability and general apathy towards "getting it done". This is a carry on from the Soviet times when everyone had a job for life and the main trick was to do as little as possible and take no responsibility for anything. With regards consumer products, the state viewed that as unimportant and anything, however cr*p will do - after all, there was no competition. Sadly, this attitude still prevails today and until some serious management gets involved and Russian workers get a major kick up the rear, even buying Opel technology would not have made a great Russian motor industry. Just look at the Volga Syber.... Bought in (albeit old, but galaxys ahead of anything GAZ produces) proven Chrysler technology and they manage to botch it with poor build quality. And, look at the mess called LDV and the Maxus which was meant to be GAZ's pot of gold for the future...

European/North American and Russian business models have fundamental problems mixing as BP will tell!