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Holden MD Dorizas quits

Short tenure: Gerry Dorizas started with GM Holden in March this year, taking the reins just months after the company confirmed the closure of its local manufacturing operations.

GM Holden looking for its seventh MD in a decade as Gerry Dorizas departs

28 Oct 2014

GENERAL Motors Holden is set to get its seventh managing director in 10 years with the resignation today of Gerry Dorizas after just seven months in the chair.

The shock departure has left Holden chief financial officer Jeff Rolfs as interim boss until a new incumbent can be recruited.

It is unclear where Mr Dorizas is headed, with Holden saying only that he had resigned to “pursue other opportunities”.

Greek-born Mr Dorizas took the reins of the local car-maker in March this year after the former MD, Canadian Mike Devereux, left in late 2013 to take up a new role with GM International Operations in Shanghai.

Since 2003, Holden has turned over bosses at various intervals. American Denny Mooney was in charge from 2003 to 2007 before being replaced by Englishman Chris Gubbey who lasted one year before leaving in 2008 to take up a senior position with GM in Russia.

Mark Reuss – son of former GM president Lloyd Reuss – took over from Mr Gubbey in 2008 and was returned to Detroit to help rescue GM at the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.

His Holden deputy, Englishman Alan Batey, replaced him, holding the role for about two years before Mr Reuss recruited him to bolster GM's head office executive stocks.

Mr Batey has gone on to become GM's vice president in charge of the company's biggest global brand, Chevrolet, while Mr Reuss now holds the position of president of GM North America.

Replacement boss Mike Devereux was given the thankless task of overseeing Holden's demise as local manufacturer, knocking heads with the Australian federal government as it wound back its manufacturing support.

Mr Dorizas became the first non-GM chief of Holden in March this year, recruited from Volkswagen's Indian distributor.

His departure comes at an awkward time for Holden which has also just lost its executive director sales and marketing Philip Brook, who has been transferred to the US to run GM's south-central region from Dallas, Texas.

GM executive vice-president and president of GM International Stefan Jacoby said that despite the changes at the top, GM was working to ensure continued sales success for Holden in Australia.

“General Motors is 100 per cent committed to the Holden brand and its long-term success in Australia,” he said. “We’re focused on winning with customers in Australia and New Zealand, and are moving quickly to name the right leader to drive our brand and business to the next level.

“The foundation has been built to transform GM Holden in Australia, and we are determined to maintain momentum to continue to push towards our strategic objectives.” Mr Jacoby praised Mr Dorizas whom he said took the reins of Holden in a difficult period, just months after it announced it would close its local manufacturing operation in 2017, ending Commodore and Cruze production here.

“We thank Gerry for his contribution to GM Holden and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Mr Jacoby said.

Mr Rolfs, who will serve as the interim managing director until a replacement is found, is a 22-year automotive industry veteran.

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