Nick Reilly will become Daewoo president and chief executive officer once the General Motors acquisition is completed. He moves to South Korea next month as GM looks to speed up the protracted transition process.
GM insisted the purchase was still going ahead, despite news that Daewoo has this week closed its three main car plants in South Korea. Suppliers have halted shipments, demanding that the carmaker repays debt worth £464m.
A spokesman said the move would have no impact on UK supplies. The company has ample stock at its Bristol import centre, with more cars being shipped in.
Jonathan Browning, who resigned as Jaguar Cars managing director in October, will replace Mr Reilly as General Motors Europe vice president sales, marketing and aftersales. Mr Browning is thought to have had the GM job lined up before he announced his resignation.
Daewoo has struggled in the UK this year, with sales down nearly 45%, as uncertainty over its future hits confidence. The company, which is building a franchised network, expects to appoint 10 dealers in January, taking it to 14.
UK executives were upbeat about Mr Reilly's appointment, believing it emphasised GM's commitment to the company's revival.
One source said management recognised that Mr Reilly's tactical nous made him “the best man for the job” in a region where unions are notoriously militant.
Mr Reilly dealt with difficult union negotiations over wages and productivity while Vauxhall managing director including the Vectra plant closure at Luton.
Mr Browning, who previously worked for General Motors as executive director of marketing for GME and managing director of GM Turkey, will have responsibility for sales, marketing, brand integration, aftersales and the distribution network.
He will also play a key role in the implementation of Project Olympia, which is designed to cut costs and return GM to profit in Europe.
Around 10% of the European workforce, amounting to 1,500 workers, will be cut under the Project. GM has not revealed which countries will be affected.