Holden Boss Alan Batey Moving To Chevrolet, CFO Mark Bernhard Named Caretaker Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Mar, 03 2010 | 2 Comments

AFTER ONLY SIX months in the top job, Holden Chairman and Managing Director Alan Batey is bound for the US, where he has been appointed Vice President of Sales and Service for Chevrolet.

Holden's Chief Financial Officer, Mark Bernhard, will head operations until a replacement is named.

“After an exceptionally difficult year last year, Holden today stands on the threshold of great things – we’ve got a robust plan in place to return to profitability, we’ve got some great product on the ground and on the way and our team is focused on growing volume and share,” Mr Batey said.

Previously Holden's Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Mr Batey took over the top role in September last year.

Mr Batey will join new GM North America President Mark Reuss, whom Batey succeeded at Holden, in developing a new marketing leadership team for GM's US-market brands.

“There are few companies in the world as special as Holden,” Mr Batey said.

“It’s a company with a passionate, highly skilled team that punches far above its weight on the global automotive stage. It’s a company with a fantastic history and a brilliant future.”

Although Mr Batey's tenure at the top spot within Holden was short, he said during a press conference today that he will not be forgetting GM's Australian arm anytime soon.

When asked about whether his new position at GM could help pave the way for Commodore exports to the US, Batey was cautiously optimistic.

"We've always looked at Holden favourably from a global perspective," said Mr Batey.

"I can tell you that I'm very passionate about the export opportunites [for Holden].

"I think our product has got a lot of opportunities in overseas markets, and when I hit the ground and get a chance to get with the dealers and understand more about the market and the opportunities, I'll obviously be keeping Holden in mind.

"If there's opportunities for Holden products that will help us sell more cars, we'll obviously look at it really seriously."

According to last month's sales figures, Batey leaves Holden in reasonable health.

Sales for February jumped 24 percent compared to the same period last year, and market share has risen to 13.8 percent - an increase over last year's share of 12.9 percent.

The Captiva continues to be the best-selling SUV, over 2000 Cruzes were sold and Holden moved over 400 more Barinas last month than in February 2009.

Mr Batey's departure won't impact on the introduction of the new Australian-built Cruze hatch, which is slated to debut later this year. Incoming updates for the Commodore won't be affected by the leadership change either, however Holden remains tight-lipped on when the updates will arrive.

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