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Alan Batey takes GM global marketing reins
Former Holden boss takes over as GM global marketing chief – for now
2 Aug 2012
By TERRY MARTIN
FORMER GM Holden chairman and now General Motors vice-president of US sales and service Alan Batey has taken over responsibility for global marketing at the US auto giant after the unexpected departure of Joel Ewanick this week.
In a statement, GM said Mr Ewanick had elected to resign, effective immediately, and that Mr Batey had assumed the role of global chief marketing officer on an interim basis.
Mr Ewanick joined GM in May 2010 to head up marketing operations for the company’s North America unit, rising to global marketing chief seven months later.
He was previously vice-president of marketing and chief marketing officer for Nissan North America, and prior to that served as vice-president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America.
Mr Batey was appointed to the newly created position of vice-president of US sales and service in May this year, reporting to another former Holden chief Mark Reuss (who is now GM North America president) and overseeing all GM brands including Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
He previously served for two years as vice-president of Chevrolet sales and service, having moved to the key North American role after four years at Holden.
From top: General Motors' Joel Ewanick and Dave Lyon.
An Englishman who started his career with Vauxhall in Britain in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice, Mr Batey was appointed Holden chairman and managing director in September 2009, rising from the position of executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales – a position for which he joined Holden in January 2006.
Before becoming a Holden board member, Mr Batey was vice-president of commercial operations (sales, marketing and aftersales) for GM Daewoo, a role he took on in 2002 when the new business was formed.
Along with former GM International Operations and GM Europe president Nick Reilly, Mr Batey is credited with transforming the bankrupt Daewoo business into a successful global hub for Chevrolet.
Overseas reports suggest Mr Ewanick’s departure is a sign of increasing pressure on GM’s top management team to improve performance, with the latest results released overnight showing company sales its home market fell six per cent in July, largely on the back of a 41 per cent slump in rental volume.
One of GM’s top designers, Dave Lyon, also left the company unexpectedly last week, just days before he was scheduled to take over as chief designer of Opel.
Mr Lyon was meant to replace Mark Adams, who is relocating to Detroit as global design director for Cadillac and Buick – part of a reshuffle that has this week seen Andrew Smith return to Australia as Holden’s design director, replacing Tony Stolfo.
A replacement for Mr Adams is still to be named, but Opel’s Australian-born exterior chief designer Niels Loeb expressed interest in the top GM Europe design job at this week’s Australian national media launch of the Opel brand.
“There are lots of talented guys here at Opel, but you never say never,” Mr Loeb told GoAuto when asked whether he was a chance for the role.
“Obviously we need someone to replace Mark Adams, but that’s for Opel to decide.”
GM has also announced that it has restructured its vehicle line team structure within its global product development division, removing a layer of management in a bid to “reduce complexity” and “accelerate decision-making to drive greater efficiency”.
Product programs will now be consolidated under one executive chief engineer for each program, all of whom report to Doug Parks, who is in the newly created position of vice-president of product programs.
Previously, a product program was developed under the direction of a vehicle line executive, vehicle line director and vehicle chief engineer.
Mr Parks was previously executive director and group vehicle line executive for electric cars, a position he had been in for only four months after earlier serving as global vehicle line executive and global vehicle chief executive for electric cars, including the Chevrolet/Holden Volt.
GM’s senior vice-president for global product development Mary Barra said: “The realignment reduces complexity and drives single-point accountability for the execution of our vehicle programs.
“These changes allow the vehicle teams to focus on what they do best – develop industry-leading cars, trucks and crossovers that delight customers and deliver solid profit margins.”
GM said the executive chief engineers will now be “totally responsible for their respective groups of vehicles from inception through production”.
“That includes defining the requirements of GM’s new vehicles to ensure they win in the marketplace as well as understanding the competitive landscape and managing cost, quality and performance targets,” the company says.
“These changes remove a layer of management and approximately 20 executive positions globally. The new structure eliminates redundancy and reduces complexity – enabling faster decision making and instilling clear accountability in the vehicle development process.”
Holden’s engineering executive director is Greg Tyus.
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