DETROIT – General Motors Corp. appoints D. Nick Reilly to head the auto maker’s transition team as it finalizes plans to take over ailing Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd.

Reilly, currently vice president of GM Europe’s sales, marketing and aftersales operations, will take on his new position in January, where he will be responsible for the transition of the Korean automaker to the GM group.

Reilly will report directly to GM Asia/Pacific President Rudolph Schlais and will be based in South Korea. Once the transition period is complete, Reilly will become president and CEO of the new joint venture company that will control Daewoo’s operations.

“Naming an executive of Nick’s stature to the transition team is further evidence of the commitment GM has to bringing this transaction to a successful conclusion,” says Schlais. “His leadership and experience at Vauxhall and GM Europe will go a long way toward helping to establish the new company as an internationally respected, globally competitive and fast growing enterprise.”

GM and Daewoo reached a preliminary agreement in September See related story to take control of two Daewoo car plants in South Korea, two other facilities overseas and Daewoo’s sales network for $400 million. Both parties remain in due diligence and definitive agreements have yet to be signed.

Reilly will be replaced by industry veteran Jonathon Browning, who recently left Ford Motor Co.’s Jaguar unit as managing director.See related story

Browning returns to GM after departing the company in 1997. He will be responsible for sales, marketing, brand integration, aftersales and distribution operations for all of GM’s European brands. Browning also is expected to play a role in the “Project Olympia” program to turn around GM’s European operations.

GM President and CEO Rick Wagoner says he’s happy to have Browning back on the GM team as the company finalizes plans to return its European operations to profitability.

“I’m particularly pleased that Jonathon has decided to rejoin GM to contribute to the turnaround of GM Europe,” Wagoner says. “At this critical stage in the turnaround, his overall industry background and marketing expertise can help accelerate our efforts.”

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