The lion that roared

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IM’ GO­ING to miss Mark Reuss. You have to ad­mire any chair­man of GM Holden who lands from the US wear­ing an HSV lapel pin and then parks a 48-215 in his garage, be­fore up­grad­ing his pri­vate ride to a restora­tion job on an FC Holden.

But that’s per­sonal opin­ion and Reuss de­serves ad­mi­ra­tion for what he has done in only 18 months at Fish­er­mans Bend. It’s no stretch at all to say he has saved Holden.

Reuss ra­tio­nalised and re­or­gan­ised the Red Lion brand lo­cally and, cru­cially, won ap­proval and fi­nance to be­gin small-car pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia. The in­tro­duc­tion of the Holden Cruze is the key to the com­pany sur­viv­ing the enor­mous down­turn in large-car sales in Aus­tralia and build­ing a vi­able fu­ture as the Com­modore de­clines.

He also ce­mented the fi­nan­cial plan that al­lowed the com­pany to sur­vive the global shake-out trig­gered by GM’s move into Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion.

He may be an en­gi­neer, but the son of for­mer GM pres­i­dent Lloyd Reuss also has fi­nan­cial acu­men. Ri­vals say he also can be a tiger in a meet­ing.

Reuss is suc­ceeded as Holden’s chair­man by the livewire sales chief Alan Batey, who knows what his boss has in place.

The only ques­tion now is what Mark Reuss will do in the ‘‘new GM’’ or­gan­i­sa­tion. He heads back to a top-20 job, but his ex­act post will not be re­vealed un­til later to­day.

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