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Former top Ford executive to head AADA

Step forward: As the new CEO of the AADA, Bruce McDonald is charged with “continuing to balance the relationship between dealers and manufacturers”.

Peak dealer body appoints former Ford vice-president Bruce McDonald as CEO

25 Jun 2015

THE Australian Automotive Dealer Association’s three-month search for a permanent chief executive has ended with the appointment of former Ford Australia vice-president Bruce McDonald to the crucial retail motor industry role.

As GoAuto has previously reported, the peak dealer body has been searching since March for a permanent CEO as Patrick Tessier steps back into his previous roles as convention organiser and international ambassador for the association.

Mr Tessier and AADA president Ian Field have been the driving forces behind the re-creation of the AADA as a national body since its establishment early last year.

The former Australian Automobile Dealers Association was run by the state motor trades associations, which also represented independent repairers.

Mr Tessier officially hands over the reins to Mr McDonald on July 1.

In announcing the appointment, Mr Field described it as “an exciting step forward for the association”.

“Not only is Bruce equipped with formidable industry knowledge, but his OEM background will help AADA continue to balance the relationship between dealers and manufacturers,” he said.

“We need an open and collaborative working relationship with OEMs to forge ahead, and Bruce will help facilitate this.”

Mr Field also paid tribute to Mr Tessier, who has worked on improving the relationship between dealers and car companies, and has tackled hot-button issues such as used-car imports and independents’ ‘right to repair’.

He has also worked on strengthening the Australian organisation’s relationship with overseas dealer bodies, particularly the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in the US.

“Without Patrick’s involvement, it would have been impossible to establish the current AADA in as quick and effective a manner as we have over the past 12 months,” Mr Field said.

“Patrick has done a commendable job in helping establish the revitalised AADA.

Now, with the appointment of Bruce McDonald, we anticipate a bright future for the association and our members moving forward.”

Mr McDonald has more than three decades’ sales and marketing experience in the automotive industry, including nine years as vice-president and senior company leader at Ford Australia.

He worked at Ford for 28 years in total, starting as a graduate trainee in 1974 and taking on a wide range of roles over the years in Australia, the US and specific projects in Asia-Pacific markets.

He ran Ford Australia’s southern region and vehicle marketing operations, and later spent almost four years in the US from late 1996 to early 2000 – mostly in Detroit as portfolio brand strategy manager (Asia-Pacific) and market area manager, but also had a short stint in New York as regional manager.

Upon returning to Australia Mr McDonald became vice-president of sales and marketing, overseeing key launches such as the BA Falcon and SX Territory over the next five-and-a-half years.

In September 2005, Mr McDonald was appointed vice-president of Ford Australia’s customer service division, charged with improving this side of the Blue Oval’s business in areas such as parts and service support for dealers and customers.

Mr McDonald also worked for Nissan Australia as marketing director from 1989-91 and held a similar role for Laminex Australia from 1985-89.

He left Ford Australia at the end of 2008, joining the Driver Education Centre of Australia (DECA) as chief executive. Two years later Mr McDonald set up his own company, Advantage Point Business Advisors, which he has run for the past four-and-a-half years.

During this time he has also served as a non-executive director of the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) – a not-for-profit employment service for doctors in rural and regional areas – and as co-ordinator of the MBA mentoring program for the RMIT University Graduate School of Business and Law.

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