HOLDEN is expected to confirm the name of its new managing director in a press conference at 4:30pm today, Friday 6 February.
UPDATE: Holden has named Australian Mark Bernhard to the vacant position of Holden CEO.
The company has been without a permanent official figurehead since the unexpected departure of Gerry Dorizas on 28 October, 2014.
Regardless of who is named, it will be the local car maker’s sixth boss in as many years.
Dorizas had been in the job a mere seven months, and had made bold claims including that Holden will return to the Number One sales position – an achievement it hasn’t managed since 2002 – by 2020. In 2014, Holden finished second to Toyota, but its 106,092 sales were almost half (52.1 percent) that of sales leader, Toyota, with 203,501 – a record low for Holden.
General Motors Vice President of International Operations, Stefan Jacoby, is currently in Sydney where the press conference will be held, indicating that this afternoon’s announcement is of primary significance.
Upon Dorizas’ departure, Jacoby released a statement saying that “General Motors is 100 percent committed to the Holden brand and its long-term success in Australia … “We thank Gerry for his contribution to GM Holden and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Jacoby said.
Jacoby appointed Holden chief financial officer Jeff Rolfs as interim managing director.
The new boss will be at the reigns as Holden’s manufacturing closes and it becomes a full importer and sales company. It’s been confirmed that the Commodore will be replaced by an imported large car, but the Commodore name will remain, and that GM’s rear-drive performance V8 line will be tapped for Australian showrooms.
Holden’s staple model line will include Opel models, with the high-performance Astra VXR as a Ford Focus ST rival, and the Insignia VXR locked in for a mid-2015 launch. The Opel Cascada – an Astra-based convertible – has also been confirmed.