Rita Forst was born March 31, 1955 in Wiesbaden. She studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, with a focus on energy and heat engineering. Rita Forst is married and has two grown sons.
In 1977 she began her career with Adam Opel AG in engine design. Seven years later, Forst spent 1984 in the USA, participating in a continuing education program for young engineers in Flint, Michigan. At the General Motors Institute she was awarded a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering.
As Project Engineer, Forst was responsible for coordinating various new engine development projects, including the introduction of the three-way catalytic converter and four-valve technology. As Group Engineer in the early 1990s, she managed design and development activities for the L850 light-alloy engine series, which was developed in Europe and used globally. In 1999 Forst assumed responsibility as Chief Engineer responsible for Manufacturing Engineering of all powertrain and transmission facilities in Europe.
She joined Opel Powertrain GmbH as Executive Director, Product Engineering in January 2001, and was later appointed Managing Director of this legal entity. Opel Powertrain GmbH is an operational division of GM Powertrain Europe. Up to September 2005, Forst was Managing Director of Opel Powertrain, where she was responsible for the development of the new diesel engine development center in Turin, Italy. Under her leadership, the company developed its frugal and environmentally friendly Eco-Tech engine series as well as the 6-speed automatic transmissions. From November 2007 on, Rita Forst has served as chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the GM Powertrain Deutschland GmbH.
In November 2008, Forst came back to Rüsselsheim and undertook the operating leadership of the vehicle development of General Motors Europe. Rita Forst was named Member of the Management Board in January, 2010. She currently serves as Vice President Engineering, responsible for all European activities within the global Engineering team of General Motors.