What's going on at GM Holden? After taking the reins at Port Melbourne as Managing Director on March 1 this year, industry veteran Gerry Dorizas has resigned, effective immediately.
A statement issued by Holden this afternoon said that he had resigned to "pursue other opportunities". In other words, this is not a reassignment within GM's global operation.
GM Executive Vice President and President of GM International Stefan Jacoby said that Mr Dorizas had "taken the reins of GM Holden at a difficult period and had implemented a number of measures to transition the business to a National Sales Company when domestic manufacturing ceases at the end of 2017".
“We thank Gerry for his contribution to GM Holden and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Mr Jacoby said.
But there may be more to this.
Mr Dorizas warned in August that Holden, and the Australian vehicle manufacturing industry, may have to shut down earlier than planned if the Federal Government proceeded with plans to cut $500 million in industry support.
He said then that without financial aid, suppliers to the industry would collapse.
"We are very focussed on the supplier base, because, if that happens (industry support is withdrawn), nobody will be able to produce cars that rely on parts made in Australia," Mr Dorizas said then.
In May this year, Holden announced a record loss of AUD$553.8 million, driven up, in the main, by impairment costs due to the winding down of operations and in making provisions for employees.
In a flagging market, down 2.0 YTD percent on 2013 - and with Holden down 11.1 percent in September, dropping from second to fourth - things may not be looking rosy in the vicinity of the Port Melbourne offices.
For its part, the statement from General Motors is otherwise typically upbeat.
"General Motors is 100 percent committed to the Holden brand and its long term success in Australia," Mr Stefan Jacoby said.
“The foundation has been built to transform GM Holden in Australia, and we are determined to maintain momentum to continue to push towards our strategic objectives."
In the meantime, GM Holden Chief Financial Officer Jeff Rolfs will serve as interim Managing Director until a successor to Mr Dorizas is appointed.
Gerry Dorizas came to GM with a long career in the automotive industry, beginning with Mercedes Benz in Greece.
He has served respectively with Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Inchcape Holdings, Hyundai Motor Europe GmbH in Germany before heading up Volkswagen AG in Japan and then India.
This may be a space worth watching closely.
TMR Managing Editor