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New Holden chief to head industry group

Incoming: New FCAI president, GM Holden chief Mike Devereux.

Newly appointed Holden boss vows to represent entiry industry as FCAI president

Holden logo6 May 2010

THE Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has named GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux as its new president, electing him at its annual general meeting yesterday.

Mr Devereux takes over from his predecessor at Holden, Alan Batey, who relinquished the role last month when he was appointed Chevrolet’s US vice-president of sales and service in the US.

In his maiden speech as president, made at the FCAI’s annual dinner last night after he was sworn in, Mr Devereux vowed to represent the entire industry, not just the interests of local manufacturers.

“While my role at Holden focuses solely on the designing, building and selling of motor vehicles, I want to assure you all that I stand here tonight as the representative for the entire industry – manufacturers, importers, cars, light commercials and motorcycles,” he said.

“I believe that we can achieve greater outcomes, particularly with government and regulators, when we stand as one united industry.”

The British-born, Canadian-raised GM veteran, who was previously head of GM’s operations in the Middle East, also said he would work to foster the talent and capability he has seen in the local industry.

“While my time in Australia has been brief, I have already made a few observations of the Aussie automotive industry,” he said.

“Since arriving here, I have been overwhelmed by the talent and capability within the local industry – it’s something you would expect to see in a country with a much larger population and industry than ours.

“I have said from the outset that my responsibility is to foster that talent and ensure the local industry remains fundamental to the Australian economy.

“Australia is one of only 12 countries on the entire planet that has the capability to design, engineer and manufacture a motor vehicle from start to finish. That’s something of which we should all be incredibly proud.

“It’s a highly sought-after capability that many countries around the world want, but don’t have,” he said.

Mr Devereux also painted a positive picture of the current state of the Australian car industry.

“The world over, the industry has been through hell and back in the past 18 months,” he said.

“Australia, I’m pleased to say, has weathered the worst of the storm in pretty good shape. Australia should be proud of its automotive industry and from here on I will be one of its biggest advocates.

“One of the reasons that people and industries in Australia have come through the financial crisis in relatively good shape is the passion people have for the industry. However, this good shape can also be attributed to the support shown for our industry, by governments and by the community.

“Despite the tax break, 2009 was still a tough year but we are now emerging from the crisis.

“When you look back at the enormous achievements of the industry over the past year and consider the difficult circumstances in which they were accomplished, it gives me a strong hope for the future outlook.

“The Australian industry was quite successful and continued a steady pace of improvement when times were tough so I am excited to think at all the achievements we will be able to list when we are together this time next year.”

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