The Financial Times Deutschland and The Wall Street Journal (subs. required) are reporting that General Motors plans to hire Volkswagen executive Karl-Thomas Neumann to become Opel chief executive. But he might not be able to join the company very quickly. Major automakers usually insist on a waiting period before allowing their managers to jump to a competitor. Neumann, who is in charge of electronics development at VW, was the CEO at Continental AG, before resigning in 2008 in a dispute with Continental's major shareholder. When he came back to VW, he headed its operations in China, and was considered a CEO candidate, only to be beaten out by Martin Winterkorn, architect of the beigekrieg strategy. Now, he would potentially be jumping into the dire situation at Opel, which is expected to lose at least $1.5 billion this year.

2nd Gear: A VW Executive To Run Opel?S