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Ford boss takes industry top job
Ford’s Bob Graziano elected FCAI president to guide industry through uncertain times
13 Dec 2011
FORD Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano has been elected president of Australia’s motor industry peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), replacing Holden’s Mike Devereux from January 1.
Mr Graziano becomes the first head of Ford to hold the reins since Tom Gorman succeeded Toyota’s John Conomos in 2006.
The past three FCAI presidents have all been from Holden, with Mark Reuss and Alan Batey preceding Mr Devereux.
Mr Reuss and Mr Batey both effectively passed the baton to their successor when they were called to higher duty within GM in the United States in quick succession, with Mr Devereux effectively walking straight into the job in May 2010.
FCAI presidents usually take the role for a three-year term, with bosses of the local car manufacturers sharing the honour on rotation. However, a rule change this year means importer representatives are eligible for election.
An American, Mr Graziano has had a year to get acquainted with the Australian motor industry since arriving from his previous job in China to replace Marin Burela at the helm of Ford Australia in November 2010.
Left: Mike Devereux.
Mr Graziano, who joined Ford as a sales analyst in its Omaha district office in 1982, has held a range of Ford, Lincoln and Mazda sales, marketing and managerial roles in the US, South America, South Africa, Japan and China – where he was chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China – before arriving at Ford Australia’s Broadmeadows office.
One of Mr Graziano’s first tasks will be to win the support of new industry and innovation minister Greg Combet, who assumed the portfolio from Senator Kim Carr in a federal cabinet reshuffle this week.
In a parting salvo directed at the federal government last week, Mr Devereux pleaded the case for more government support for local manufacturers.
Mr Graziano is not the only new face at the top of the FCAI, with chief executive Ian Chalmers also fresh to the organisation after replacing long-time chief executive Andrew McKellar who now heads up the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).
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