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Another Holden chief leaves

America bound: Holden's Alan Batey is set to follow his former Holden boss Mark Reuss to the US.

New GM Holden boss yet to be named as Alan Batey departs for Chevrolet in the US

Holden logo3 Mar 2010

GM HOLDEN has announced the departure of chairman and managing director Alan Batey just four days after a change of hands at the top of Mitsubishi’s Australian operations was made public.

Mr Batey, who has been appointed as Chevrolet’s US vice-president of sales and service – effective immediately – will be the third Holden executive to head to GM’s Detroit head office in a little over six months.

He follows his predecessor Mark Reuss, who was named as GM’s most senior product engineer last July before quickly becoming president of GM North America, and Holden’s former executive director of corporate affairs, Jason Laird, who was named executive director of GM North American product and brand communications in January.

No direct replacement has been announced for Mr Batey.

Holden said its chief financial officer, Mark Bernhard, will be supported by the company’s senior leadership team to “ensure continuity and the seamless execution of the company’s strategic plan until a replacement is named”.

The replacement for Mr Batey, who will also relinquish his role as president of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, will be Holden’s fifth chief executive since August 2007, when Chris Gubbey replaced Denny Mooney – the longest serving GM Holden boss since Peter Hanenberger.

Mr Gubbey held the top Holden post for just six months before passing the baton in February 2008 to Mr Reuss, who is now assembling GM’s new US sales and marketing team, in which Mr Batey will play a key role at Chevrolet.

 center image Left: GM North America president Mark Reuss. Below: GM North America executive director of product and brand communications Jason Laird.

Mr Reuss was a central figure in the development of a Holden Statesman-based North American police vehicle, which will form the basis of a renewed export program to the US and is likely to be followed by an even more lucrative civilian version, following the axing of Holden’s G8 export deal when GM killed the Pontiac brand in 2009.

As Chevrolet’s US sales chief, Mr Batey would oversee such a project.

“After an exceptionally difficult year last year, Holden today stands on the threshold of great things – we’ve got a robust plan in place to return to profitability, we’ve got some great product on the ground and on the way and our team is focused on growing volume and share,” Mr Batey said today.

Holden chairman and managing director since September 2009, Mr Batey was previously executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales – a position for which he joined Holden in January 2006, following a GM career dating back to 1979, when he joined Vauxhall Motors in the UK as an apprentice mechanic.

Prior to becoming a Holden board member, Mr Batey was vice-president of commercial operations (sales, marketing and aftersales) for GM Daewoo, a position he assumed in 2002 when the new business was formed.

“There are few companies in the world as special as Holden,” Mr Batey said. “It’s a company with a passionate, highly skilled team that punches far above its weight on the global automotive stage. It’s a company with a fantastic history and a brilliant future.”

In a letter addressed to Holden staff, Mr Batey added: “I want you to know that this assignment was not a part of the plan when I took over as chairman and managing director of Holden in September 2009.

“I will be part of a new team led by Mark Reuss to win back sales and share in the critical North American market, which ultimately lays the foundations for a strong and sustainable company around the world.

“I will always be proud to have been a part of this iconic Australian brand,” said Mr Batey.

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