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New aftersales director for FCA Australia

Big job: Jo Markham will play a key role in helping improve the image of FCA’s all-important Jeep brand, which has been battered by widely publicised cases involving dissatisfied customers in recent years.

Former Holden director and GM International OnStar regional chief Markham joins FCA

Fiat logo25 Oct 2019

FORMER GM Holden director Jo Markham has joined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia as its new director of aftersales, replacing Neil Whitehead who had held the position for almost two years.

 

Ms Markham brings more than 23 years’ experience at General Motors/Holden to the position, including a year-long stint as executive director of aftersales for Holden from mid-2017 to mid-2018.

 

She was also made a member of Holden’s board of directors in 2018, and since May last year until her departure, Ms Markham served as managing director of General Motors International’s OnStar connected service.

 

Based at Holden headquarters in Port Melbourne, the OnStar role handed Ms Markham responsibility for all aspects of GM’s global expansion of the service into Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the Middle East.

 

It also made her a member of GM’s Global Connected Customer Experience (GCCX) Operations team, reporting to Detroit-based GCCX chief operating officer Christine Sitek.

 

As GoAuto reported exclusively late last year, Holden and GM decided to postpone the planned rollout of OnStar in this region to cut costs in line with GM’s latest round of belt-tightening, pushing the launch back from 2019 to at least 2021.

 

Key members of the unit were expected to leave the company as a result, and Ms Markham, as head of the division, has now sought a fresh start with FCA where she will lead the aftersales team, “focusing on service, customer care, parts and accessories, CRM, aftersales field management, technical training and warehouse operations”.

 

These are critical areas as FCA Australia aims to improve the standing of its various brands in the marketplace.

 

Ms Markham reports directly to FCA Australia managing director and CEO Kevin Flynn, who was only recently appointed himself – taking over from Steve Zanlunghi in August.

 

“Jo will be a great addition to our leadership team,” Mr Flynn said in a statement.

 

“Her diverse career background and strong leadership comes at a very critical time for us as we are incredibly focused on enhancing our customer experience and satisfaction.

 

“I am confident Jo will help us exceed those goals and ultimately enhance and improve how we work with our customers.”

 

As head of Holden’s aftersales division, Ms Markham was responsible for “supply chain, warehouse and logistics, aftersales engineering, warranty and service operations and parts/service revenue streams”.

 

An electrical engineer who began her career at Holden after graduating in 1995, Ms Markham rose through the ranks to become Holden’s engineering group manager (2007-12), electrical engineering director (2012-15) and director of quality (2015-17).

 

She also had an 11-month stint during 2012 as engineering business manager for GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre (PATAC), the design and engineering arm of the joint venture between GM and Chinese partner SAIC.

 

FCA Australia has advised that Mr Whitehead, who once served as aftersales manager for Holden’s premium brands Saab and Hummer, has left the company.

 

He had been in the position since late 2017, coming on board at about the same time FCA also appointed former Renault Australia executive Mark Palavestra as sales director.

 

As previously reported, Mr Whitehead came to FCA after spending about a year with Deloitte Motor Industry Services as a senior consulting manager.

 

Prior to that he was group director of aftersales with Volkswagen Group Australia, a position he held for just over two years, and spent almost three years with Audi in Taiwan as aftersales director.

 

Earlier, Mr Whitehead had a brief stint as general manager of roadside assistance company Assist Australia and five years as general aftersales manager for Holden’s Saab and Hummer brands.

 

He also served for more than five years for Saab Automobile Australia in a variety of roles including general manager of sales, aftersales and network development, spent six years with Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) as national sales and marketing manager (parts and accessories) and two years with Nissan Australia as national product marketing manager (accessories).


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