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Holden promotes executives with Opel know-how

Euro shift: GM Holden’s decision to import Opel-sourced cars such as the Cascada has been backed by the elevation of Holden executives with some Opel experience.

GM Holden bolsters its Opel experience at top level with two executive promotions

9 Oct 2014

THE ‘Opelisation’ of GM Holden has spread to the company’s board with the elevation to executive director status of two senior staffers with extensive knowledge of General Motors’ European brand.

The promotion of marketing director Bill Mott and sales director Peter Keley to the inner sanctum, reporting directly to Holden chairman and managing director Gerry Dorizas, follows the transfer of sales and marketing executive director Philip Brook to a new GM position in the United States.

Mr Mott was managing director of Opel Australia in its short tenure as a stand-alone car brand between September 2012 and August 2013, before Opel pulled the pin on the experiment.

Mr Keley, in a former position as Holden planning executive director, laid much of the groundwork for the Opel roll out in Australia, travelling to Opel headquarters in Russelsheim, Germany, to establish the Australian import division under the Holden umbrella.

Although their boss, Greek-born Mr Dorizas, has not worked directly with Opel, he worked extensively with European rivals Fiat and Volkswagen before joining Holden, and even did a stint with as vice-president of Hyundai’s European arm, based in the same German city as Opel.

 center image From top: Holden executive directors Bill Mott (left) and Peter Keley. This means that the three men who are set to steer Holden in its new direction as an importer of European-inspired cars have a handle on the European motor company scene – essential in the new thrust by Holden away from Chevrolet-based cars towards the more premium Opel variety.

Up to a third of new Holden models will have Opel origins, mirroring Ford’s stance with cars such as the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo.

The next-generation Open Insignia is expected to replace the Commodore when the latter goes out of Australian production in 2017, while Holden also is considering the Corsa light car and Astra small car, among others.

As GoAuto has reported, a raft of Opel models have been under test at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground. These include the hot hatch Corsa OPC, which is undergoing next-generation powertrain calibration at the test centre in Victoria.

Meanwhile, Mr Brook will shift to the US to take up a new role as Buick-GMC regional director for the south central region from November 1.

Mr Brook – a former Honda and Nissan marketing executive before joining Holden in 2007 – replaced John Elsworth as sales and marketing executive director when Mr Elsworth accepted a new job as chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Australia.

Announcing Mr Brook’s shift, Mr Dorizas said he would not be directly replaced. Instead, Mr Dorizas has elected to elevate both of Mr Brook’s deputies Mr Mott and Mr Keley to executive director rank as members of the “Holden senior leadership team”.

Holden New Zealand managing director Jeff Murray will return to Australia as sales operations director, reporting to Mr Keley, who himself was NZ Holden MD in a previous role.

Mr Murray will be replaced in NZ by Victoria-Tasmania zone manager Kristian Aquilina.

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