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Fiat Chrysler Australia names new sales chief

On his way: Robert Graczyk at a press conference at last year’s Beijing motor show announcing the Fiat Viaggio in his capacity as senior vice-president of GAC Fiat Auto Sales Ltd. (Source: bitauto.com)

Head of Maserati North America to lead Fiat Chrysler Group’s Australian sales charge

14 Nov 2013

FIAT Chrysler Group Australia has named experienced international motor industry executive Robert Graczyk as its incoming director of sales.

Filling the vacancy created when Matthew Wiesner unexpectedly left the company in August, Mr Graczyk is now preparing to relocate to Australia from the United States, where most recently he served as president and CEO of Maserati North America.

He had been in that position for the past seven months, having switched to the Italian luxury brand – part of the Fiat-Chrysler stable – when Mark McNabb left the company in April to become COO of Volkswagen of America.

Prior to that Mr Graczyk was director of sales for the Chrysler Group across the Asia-Pacific region, and over the past 28 years he has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in the US, Mexico and Latin America, including a stint as director of sales, service and parts for Chrysler de Mexico.

His work in the Asia-Pacific region also saw him heavily involved in GAC Fiat Automobiles Co, a joint venture between China’s GAC Group and Fiat which last year launched the Dodge Dart-based Fiat Viaggio sedan – a model that Fiat Chrysler Australia is keen to introduce, although it is still to be confirmed for right-hand-drive production.

Fiat Chrysler Group Australia president and CEO Veronica Johns, who has been handling the sales function since Mr Wiesner’s departure, said Mr Graczyk would play a key role in “continuing the sales success of the local operations” which so far this year has seen strong growth across most of its stable comprising the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.

“Robert is ideally placed to drive sales growth in Australia, calling on the knowledge he has built up over the past three decades including the excellent work he has achieved with multiple dealer networks,” Ms Johns said.

“This is an exciting time for Fiat Chrysler Australia. We have just achieved our best year to date ever and under Robert’s guidance we will push for even more impressive numbers in 2014 as we launch key models across our brands.

“We look forward to welcoming Robert to Fiat Chrysler Australia and building on our successes.” Although the appointment becomes effective immediately, the company said Mr Graczyk will transition into the role and relocate from Detroit “over the next few months”.

His move is part of a string of changes announced this week at Chrysler Group LLC, including a new global president and CEO for the Chrysler brand – Al Gardner, who steps up from his role as director of Chrysler’s Southeast Business Centre.

Mr Gardner replaces Saad Chehab, who becomes chief marketing officer for Maserati worldwide.

Mr Graczyk’s replacement as the head of Maserati North America is Pete Grady, who will retain his responsibilities as vice-president of dealer network development across the entire Chrysler Group.

Chrysler has also appointed a new senior vice-president of supply chain management, Steve Beahm, who was previously vice-president of US sales operations – a job that now goes to the current head of Chrysler’s Northeast Business Centre, Jeffrey Kommor.

Dodge brand chief Tim Kuniskis also now assumes responsibility for the company’ s global fleet operations.

Fiat and Chrysler Group chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said: “All of these appointments represent important recognition of the positive contribution that each individual has brought to the organisation.

“We continue to value the talent within our walls, as we grow strong leaders and provide opportunities for top performers.” Maserati is handled in Australia by the independent European Automotive Imports (EAI), part of the Ateco Automotive Group that was previously responsible for Fiat and Alfa Romeo. EAI also handed over distribution of Ferrari to a new factory operation earlier this year.

Mr Wiesner recently set up a consultancy called SEED Growth Strategies.

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