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Holden names Middle East operations head Mike Devereux as its new chairman and MD

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Holden names Middle East operations head Mike Devereux as its new chairman and MD

22 March 2010


GENERAL Motors’ chairman and managing director of the Middle East region Mike Devereux has become the new head of Holden in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Devereux’s position is effective immediately and comes three weeks after GM Holden announced that former chairman and managing director Alan Batey had been hired as Chevrolet’s US vice-president of sales and service.

Mr Batey followed his predecessor, Mark Reuss, to GM headquarters in the US after eight months at the helm of Holden. Mr Reuss is now president of GM North America.

Combining an engineering background with extensive sales and marketing experience, particularly in e-Business, Mr Devereux, 44, has relocated from Dubai to Melbourne and will report to GM’s international operations president Tim Lee.

His experience in the Middle East is already being viewed as a significant opportunity for Holden to improve its export numbers to the region, which have plummeted in recent years.

Left: Former chairman and managing director of GM Holden Alan Batey.

Speaking to GoAuto in January, Mr Devereux said he expected around 5000 Holden-based vehicles to be sold in the Middle East in 2010 – around the same number as 2009 – although Mr Batey said at the time that the company was not banking on many export sales to the region this year.

In 2006, Holden shipped more than 31,000 cars to the Middle East.

Mr Devereux has led GM’s Middle Eastern operations since November 2008 and retained the position in July last year when former international operations chief (and now Opel chief executive) Nick Reilly announced a leaner leadership structure for GM outside of North America.

With that shake-up, Mr Reuss left for North America and Mr Batey, who has also served for GM in the Middle East during his career, became Holden’s new chairman.

Mr Devereux is now the fifth boss of the Australian car manufacturer in less than three years.

In a statement, Mr Lee said Mr Devereux’s “diverse, global experience and passion for cars made him ideally suited to lead Holden in Australia and New Zealand”.

“Recent leaders such as Mark Reuss and Alan Batey have set a very high benchmark in dedication to the people and products that define the famous Holden brand – and Mike will be no exception,” Mr Lee said.

“Coupled with an absolute passion for cars, Mike brings rare experience across almost every area of the automotive business including manufacturing, product development and senior management roles in GM’s international operations, marketing, sales and aftersales including the then newly formed e-Business group.

“Mike’s most recent outstanding work in the Middle East, which has traditionally been an important export market for Holden, makes him a strong advocate for his new home and the historical brand even before he steps on Australian soil,” he said.

British-born but educated in Canada, Mr Devereux has worked for General Motors for 26 years, mostly in Canada and the US.

He joined the company in 1984 as an engineering co-op student as part of the St Catharines Engine and Foundry Complex within GM of Canada, based in Ontario.

In 1989 he moved to GM’s service parts operations international group, working in product development and sales. In 2000 he served as launch manager for the Cadillac DeVille, and subsequently held director positions in e-Business and GM’s global sales, service and marketing organisation.

Before taking over from Terry Johnsson (who had left for GM China) in the Middle East late in 2008, Mr Devereux was based in Detroit as executive director of digital marketing and customer relationship management (CRM). He was also serving as GM’s global process leader for digital marketing and CRM.

Mr Devereux holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from the GMI Engineering and Management Institute and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University.



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