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BMW Australia chief resigns

Surprise resignation: Departing BMW Group Australia managing director Stavros Yallouridis.

BMW Group Australia chief Stavros Yallouridis resigns unexpectedly while in Munich

22 Nov 2010

BMW Group Australia managing director Stavros Yallouridis resigned unexpectedly from his position last week while attending the global presidents’ meeting at the German car manufacturer’s headquarters in Munich.

The Australian subsidiary’s PR and corporate communications manager Piers Scott said Mr Yallouridis had resigned from his position – and from the BMW Group in general – and that a process was underway to find a replacement.

In the interim, BMW Group Australia’s finance director Peter Buchauer has become acting managing director.

 center imageLeft: BMW sales director for the Asia, Pacific and South Africa region Guenther Seemann. Below: BMW Group Australia PR and corporate communications manager Piers Scott.

BMW’s sales director for the Asia, Pacific and South Africa region, Guenther Seemann, who was Mr Yallouridis’ predecessor, will travel to Australia this week to address staff and to attend the company’s important 2011 dealer meeting.

Mr Scott said staff had no knowledge that Mr Yallouridis, who had been in the job since March last year, would resign.

“(We) had no indication. It was a shock to the staff here, but I would like to stress that this is a case of Stavros resigning and we are very clear about that,” said Mr Scott, adding that he was unaware of the reason behind the resignation.

“Guenther coming down here is not to assume control, by any means. When the top dog leaves the job, obviously there are a couple of key communication priorities to staff and to our key stakeholders – the dealers – and (he is coming) to cover off those things.”

Asked if the company had been under pressure considering BMW’s sales growth of 7.7 per cent year to date has not been as strong its key competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz (both up 18.6 per cent), Mr Scott said: “Growth hasn’t been (as strong as rivals) but we’ve certainly performed to target.

“There is always pressure, I would say, especially when you’ve got fairly aggressive retail strategies from our competitors in the segment. But I would point to what has, to date, still been a successful sales year – and therefore would not suggest that this (resignation) is in any way a kneejerk reaction to any sort of underperformance.”

He also said there were no concerns raised from a retail perspective in the lead-up to Mr Yallouridis’ resignation.

“Certainly no cause for concern,” Mr Scott said. “The relationship with the dealer network always involves a high level of communication, you might say, and that is very much alive and well.”

BMW is locked in a tight battle with Mercedes-Benz for luxury passenger car market leadership in Australia, with both brands recording around 15,000 sales for the first 10 months of this year. Audi is a clear third on 11,400 new registrations YTD, according to VFACTS figures.

Australian-born Mr Yallouridis returned to Melbourne last year from BMW Group Hellas in Greece, where he spent almost six years at BMW’s newly established national sales company. He oversaw significant sales growth for BMW, and also the Mini and BMW Motorrad brands, over that period.

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