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Holden, Fiat-Chrysler chiefs quit

By Barry Park, 28 Oct 2014 News

Holden, Fiat-Chrysler chiefs quit

Holden, Fiat Chrysler Australia on the hunt to replace top leadership roles

HOLDEN is on the hunt for a new chief executive to carry it to the end of local manufacturing after the unexpected departure of Gerry Dorizas after only eight months in the job.

A statement from Holden today said Dorizas, who replaced former chief executive Mike Devereux in March after Devereux quit to take a more senior role at the car maker's Singapore-based office shortly before GM’s announcement that Holden would quit manufacturing in late 2017, would "pursue other opportunities, effective immediately".

“General Motors is 100 percent committed to the Holden brand and its long-term success in Australia", GM executive vice-president and GM International president Stefan Jacoby said in a brief statement announcing the move.

“We thank Gerry for his contribution to GM Holden and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Jacoby said.

He said Dorizas had taken the reins of GM Holden "at a difficult period", and had implemented "a number of measures" to convert Holden to a full-line importer once production of the Commodore large car and Cruze small car were switched off.

The statement said GM Holden chief financial officer Jeff Rolfs will serve as interim managing director until a new appointment was made.

Greek national Dorizas, a former head of Volkswagen India and Japan, Hyundai in Europe and Fiat in Greece, was appointed in February this year, and charged with the job of converting Holden to a full-line importer once the tap was turned of local manufacturing of the Commodore large car and Cruze small car range in late 2017.

He set Holden with a target of toppling market leader Toyota, which dominates Australia's new-car landscape by attracting one in every four buyers.

Meanwhile, the woman who pushed Fiat Chrysler sales to new heights in Australia has announced she will leave the company.

Veronica Johns was appointed early last year after the departure of car industry stalwart Clive Campbell to take up interests in New Zealand with business partner Neville Crichton.

In her time at the top of the US and Italian car brands, she has helped to more than double sales of some products after repositioning them in the market, making them more attractive to a previously untapped group of buyers.

An announcement for a replacement for Johns, who is believed to be leaving the position for personal reasons, is expected soon.

Despite his history with Fiat, Dorizas is not believed to be in the running to head up Fiat Chrysler's Australian operations.