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It has been a somewhat tumultuous day in the Australian car industry, with a second chief executive of a major car-maker’s local operations officially resigning their post. 

Hours after news broke that Holden chief Gerry Dorizas had departed with immediate effect, Fiat Chrysler Australia announced that its CEO Veronica Johns would depart at year’s end, citing “personal reasons”. 

Johns leaves after 16 years with the company. She became the first Australian female to head an automotive company here when she took the reigns from Clyde Campbell about 18 months ago. She began her career as personal assistant to the finance director. 

During her tenure at FCA, Alfa Romeo sales increased by over 30 per cent while Jeep sales also had an impressive 40-plus per cent growth. Fiat sales beat both, increasing by more than 100 percent.


“I would like to thank our staff and dealers for their support to both the company and me personally over my career with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

“The massive sales and brand successes that we have achieved over the last 4 years has been a collaborative effort and everyone should be proud to have contributed to this significant chapter in the company’s history,” said Ms. Johns.

There’s no official replacement named for Johns at this point.

News of Johns’ departure also came only hours after FCA announced the resignation of corporate communications director Karla Leach, effective immediately. The timing of this departure of two senior executives is interesting to say the least. 

The FCA news comes amid further shakeup in the industry today, with the appointment of former-Lexus PR boss Tyson Bowen to Peugeot Citroen Australia importer Sime Darby (PSA), while Suzuki Australia announced the appointment of Ruth John as the new PR assistant manager.