Johan Willems Named Management Board Member, Communications

26 Jan 2012

  • Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug elected Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board
  • GM Senior Vice President, Mary Barra, joins the Supervisory Board
Opel - Johan Willems Named Management Board Member, Communications

Rüsselsheim.  Opel/Vauxhall CEO and General Motors Europe President, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, today announced a change to the Adam Opel GmbH Management Board.


Effective February 1, the Supervisory Board has named Johan Willems (51) Management Board member in charge of Communications. In his role as the new head of Opel/Vauxhall Communications, he succeeds Dr. Susanne Wegerhoff who has elected to leave the company. In this position, Willems, who is currently Vice President, Communications, for GM International Operations based in Shanghai, China, will be responsible for all Product, Brand, Corporate and Internal Communications at Opel/Vauxhall in Europe.


Supervisory Board Chairman Stephen J. Girsky and Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug who represents the employees and who was elected today as the new Supervisory Board Deputy Chairman, are united in their assessment: “This new appointment complements and further strengthens the Management Board and the company overall. Both, shareholder representatives and employee representatives on the Supervisory Board are in agreement that Opel has to become profitable, even in times of tough economic headwinds. The parties are jointly discussing the strategy and will keep employees and the public informed. Thanks to its excellent model range with six new product launches in 2012, Opel/Vauxhall is confident that it can build on its success in the marketplace.”


Opel/Vauxhall CEO Stracke added: “I’m very much looking forward to working with Johan Willems. He joins Opel/Vauxhall as a highly seasoned Communications professional with great international experience. He knows the brand and the European business environment inside out, and he will help us to put even more focus on Opel/Vauxhall’s future growth. Further, I would like to thank Dr. Susanne Wegerhoff for her contribution in the past years. I wish her well in her future endeavors”.


In addition, GM has named Mary Barra, GM Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, as a member of the Opel Supervisory Board. At GM, Barra is responsible for global Design, Engineering and Program Management. She succeeds Walter Borst on the Opel Supervisory Board. Following the recent appointments of GM Vice Chairman, Stephen J. Girsky, as the Chairman of the Opel Supervisory Board, as well as Daniel Ammann, GM CFO, and Tim E. Lee, President GM International Operations, as regular members of the Opel Supervisory Board, this new appointment further demonstrates GM’s support for Opel/Vauxhall and commitment to Europe.


Johan Willems has already had a long career with Opel/Vauxhall and GM. He joined Opel Belgium in Antwerp in 1992. Between 1996 and 2007, he was in charge of Opel/Vauxhall and GM Europe Product & Brand Communications, and to that extent worked at the Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim for several years. Prior to his appointment as the GM International Communications Vice President in 2009, Willems was Director, Global Environmental and Advanced Propulsion Communications at GM’s headquarters in Detroit. He is a Belgian national and speaks fluently Flemish, French, German and English. He started his career as an automotive journalist in Belgium.