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Australia prominent in top global marketing study

Mover, shaker: A study has placed former Holden boss Alan Batey as the eighth most influential marketing executive in the world, but current chief Mike Devereux is deemed to have more influence within GM.

Former Holden boss Batey among world’s top marketing execs as study results surprise


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General News logo10 Oct 2013

FORMER GM Holden chairman Alan Batey, who is now in charge of Chevrolet worldwide, is among four motor industry executives named in the top 10 most influential chief marketing officers in the world.

However, current Holden chief Mike Devereux is deemed to command more influence within General Motors than Mr Batey, according to results of the second annual CMO Influence Study released this week.

Several other Australian motor industry executives or ‘outside influencers’ were also named in the report conducted by marketing firm Appinions, including some surprising results that seem to reflect their prominence in local media rather than actual global influence.

BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker was shocked to learn from GoAuto that he made the top 10 internal influencers at BMW worldwide, placing sixth – ahead of global marketing chief Peter Schwarzenbauer, global design chief Adrian van Hooydonk and just four places behind BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins was named the second most influential person within the ranks of Honda worldwide, deferring only to American Honda’s manager of social media, Alicia Jones, while former Porsche Cars Australia managing director Michael Winkler was named the fourth most influential executive at the German sportscar-maker, despite leaving the company recently.

More unexpected names appear on the list of the top external influencers on the world’s top car companies, with former prime minister Kevin Rudd and V8 Supercar driver Mark Winterbottom moving and shaking Ford, and newly appointed industry minister Ian Macfarlane pulling the strings at Toyota worldwide.

Playing a key role in expanding GM’s biggest and arguably most important brand, Mr Batey was ranked eighth overall among the world’s top marketing executives, with only Ford’s Jim Farley (fourth) and Nissan’s Andy Palmer (third) ahead of him in automotive terms.

Kia’s Michael Sprague was placed 10th, with four other automotive executives ranked in the top 20 – Daimler’s Joachim Schmidt (11th), Honda’s Mike Accavitti (13th), Renault’s Jerome Stoll and Hyundai’s Steve Shannon (17th).

Also on the list were Porsche’s Bernhard Maier (27th), Volvo’s Alain Visser (31st), BMW’s Schwarzenbauer (39th) and Volkswagen Group’s Christian Klingler (48th).

Apple’s Phil Schiller topped the overall list, with Samsung’s Younghee Lee second.

The comprehensive CMO study analyses the top 500 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 Biggest Public Companies list to determine the most influential executives in the marketing field, as well as how much power they wield within the corporate structure.

On the latter, Mr Batey, who also oversees all sales, service and marketing activities for the auto giant in the United States, was ranked the 10th most influential person in the company, with his successor at Holden, Mr Devereux, ahead of him in seventh position – just one rung behind another former Holden boss, Mark Reuss, who is president of GM North America.

Although the study results are questionable, the current Holden chief is clearly well placed to follow his predecessors to Detroit before long – potentially after finalising the current round of negotiations on Holden’s future with the federal government – to take up a position with the American motor giant’s top management team.

Current CEO Dan Akerson is, unsurprisingly, ranked at the top of GM’s internal influencers, ahead of global product programs chief Doug Parks, US sales chief Kurt McNeil, CFO Dan Ammann, US truck chief John Schwegman in fifth.

Those pulling the levers from outside the company include (in order) Canadian minister of finance Jim Flaherty, analysts Dan Picciotto and Michelle Krebs, Egypt’s American Chamber of Commerce chief Hisham Fahmy and former GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz.

Former Renault COO Carlos Tavares, who recently resigned from the French auto group after declaring an interest in running either GM or Ford, is also on the list of the top external influences on GM, as is Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

Mr Tavares also turns up on the list at Ford, where European chief Stephen Odell is ranked as the most influential executive within the company – ahead of CEO Alan Mulally and Ford Americas president Joe Hinrichs. Mr Farley places fourth, while COO Mark Fields is, surprisingly, not on the list.

British-born but educated in Canada, Mr Devereux has worked for General Motors for almost 30 years, mostly in Canada and the US. Before joining Holden in 2010, he was head of GM in the Middle East.

Mr Batey is an Englishman who started his career with Vauxhall in Britain in 1979 and was a key figure in transforming the bankrupt Daewoo business in South Korea – which GM took over in 2002 – into a successful global hub for Chevrolet.

He joined Holden in January 2006 as executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, rising to chairman and MD in September 2009 when Mr Reuss returned to Detroit after 18 months in the chair.

Appinions says it calculates influence scores based on three “reaction elements”: influencees – “the people or entities who reacted to an influencer’s opinion, weighted by their respective influence on that topic” publishing sources – “the credibility of the outlet where the reaction was published or consumed” and frequency – “the volume of opinions attributed to that influencer over the past 60 days”.

The results are based on data gathered from July 27 to September 24, 2013.

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