Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux has earned a promotion within General Motors that will see him leave his post as head of the local car maker at the end of 2013.
Devereux will assume the role of GM consolidated international operations (CIO) sales, marketing and aftersales vice president from November 1 while continuing to manage the GM Holden team until the end of December, when a replacement will be named.
GM CIO executive vice president Stefan Jacoby said Devereux would be well suited to the expanded role in the “diverse [and] complex” CIO region, which includes more than 100 countries and territories in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.
“Mike’s extensive international and cross-functional knowledge of our business will be critical as we look to position CIO for success in the coming years,” Jacoby said.
Devereux’s departure will take place almost four years after he assumed his current post, in March 2010. His replacement will become the seventh leader of GM’s Australian operations in little more than a decade, with Peter Hanenberger, Denny Mooney, Chris Gubbey, Mark Reuss and Alan Batey all spending time at the top since 2003.
Devereux has been one of the more outspoken Holden managers in recent times.
He has been a persistent and vocal campaigner for additional government funding for Australia’s struggling automotive manufacturers.
He has been an unwavering believer in its viability, insisting as recently as May that the industry could still “thrive” into the future with adequate support.
Devereux became a prominent figure in the lead up to this year’s federal election, calling for bipartisan support for the industry from Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard.
In March 2012, he was central to the negotiation of a $275 million co-investment package with federal and state governments designed to help Holden produce two new cars (later revealed to be next-generation versions of the Commodore and Cruze) and shore up its local manufacturing future until 2022. Holden’s future remains up in the air, however, as the car maker renegotiates funding with the newly appointed Abbott Government.
Devereux has overseen a turbulent financial period for Holden since assuming the lead role. The car maker announced a $112 million profit for 2010 after five consecutive years of losses, but slumped to its second-worst result in history last year, announcing a $152.8 million loss in May.
Holden’s sales fell from 132,923 in 2010 to 114,665 in 2012, and the negative trend has continued this year, with sales down 4.0 per cent with three months remaining.
Despite this, sales of locally manufactured Holdens increased from 59,362 in 2010 to 69,077 last year, though have fallen 22.8 per cent so far this year.