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Toyota’s Buttner elected head of FCAI

Leader of the pack: Dave Buttner leads a who’s who of the Australian car industry as the newly elected president of the FCAI.

Car industry heavyweights come together on board of peak body to tackle key issues

General News logo7 May 2015

THE Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has elected Toyota Australia chief Dave Buttner as its new president, succeeding former Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano as head of the peak industry body.

Mr Graziano relinquished the role in conjunction with his unexpected resignation from the company in March and his almost immediate return to the United States.

He had been FCAI president since 2012 and became a board member when he joined the Australian subsidiary of the American auto giant in 2010.

A board member for the past two years, Mr Buttner rose to president of Toyota Australia in April last year after a management restructure was made just weeks after the company announced it was joining Holden and Ford in pulling out of car manufacturing in Australia.

The restructure promoted him from executive vice-president and chief operating officer while former president Max Yasuda moved to a newly created position of chairman.

As president of the FCAI, Mr Buttner is now charged with leading the industry as the three car-makers close their factories over the next two years, pushing the case for the federal government to devise a strategy that lays the groundwork for the industry’s future beyond 2017 in key areas such as CO2 emissions and intelligent transport systems (see separate story).

The FCAI’s annual general meeting held in Melbourne this week also ushered in five new directors: Ford’s new president and CEO Graeme Whickman, GM Holden’s incoming chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard, Hyundai Motor Co Australia’s chief operating officer John Elsworth, Volvo Car Australia managing director Kevin McCann and Toyota Australia’s manager of government affairs, trade and environmental policy, Andrew Willis.

Mr Bernhard, who takes over Holden’s reins from interim chief Jeff Rolfs next month, was elected joint vice-president of the FCAI with Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery.

Mr Emery and Mr Buttner were among six other senior figures in the industry to be re-elected as directors. The others were: Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders (also elected FCAI treasurer), Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior, Honda Australia MPE managing director Robert Toscano and Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific president and CEO Horst von Sanden.

“Each director is a prominent industry leader and the FCAI looks forward to working with the new board and the entire FCAI membership to advance the interests of the Australian automotive industry,” said FCAI CEO Tony Weber.

Former Jaguar Land Rover Asia-Pacific regional director David Blackhall, who spent many years as head of the two British auto brands in Australia and retired late last year, was appointed a life member of the FCAI and recognised for the “significant and invaluable contribution (he) has made to the Australian automotive industry over many decades”.

Mr Blackhall served as an FCAI director for eight years, during which time he held the roles of vice-president and treasurer.

Ford Australia’s government affairs director Ian Mearns and sales program manager Tom White were awarded certificates of appreciation “for their dedication to undertaking work in support of the industry”.

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