Dave Buttner to take the reins at Holden, as Bernhard steps down at the end of July.

Holden has announced Mark Bernhard will leave his role as managing director and chairman at the end of July, with Dave Buttner will step into his role.

Bernhard has been at the helm since July 2015, having piloted Holden through its transition from local manufacturer to full importer, completed with the closure of Holden's Elizabeth manufacturing plant on October 20 last year.

“Holden is where it all started for me," Bernhard said in a statement.

"It has been an honour to lead Holden as we laid the foundation for a new future of this iconic Australian company,” he elaborated. “I am grateful to GM and the terrific people I have worked with through a career that spanned Australia, Europe, the US, Singapore and China – exceeding my wildest dreams when I joined the company as a fresh-faced eager graduate."

His successor, Dave Buttner (above), is a four-decade veteran of the automotive industry, who most recently served as president of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. Much like Holden, the company was going through its transition from local manufacturer to full-scale importer at the time.

That role, which ended in December 2017, was the culmination of 30 years at Toyota, preceded by a stint with Ford at the start of his career.

“I am honoured and energised by this incredible opportunity to lead Holden, a company which is part of the fabric of our country,” Buttner said in Holden's media release.

“I look forward to working with our people, our dealers and our partners to grow our business and get more and more Australian and New Zealand drivers behind the wheel of more and more Holdens.”

The news comes as Holden tries to establish the Equinox nameplate in Australia, and attempts to win over the public with the Opel Insignia-derived Commodore. Last month, the brand sold 676 Equinoxes, well behind the class-leading Mazda CX-5 (3136) and Toyota RAV4 (2690).