WHY HOLDEN’S TOP JOB IS VACANT
AS Holden prepares to name its sixth boss in six years, more details are emerging about the sudden departure of Gerry Dorizas after barely six months in the job.
Our initial speculation was on the mark. He got Holden’s 220-plus dealers offside from the start by blaming them for Holden’s sales slide. The tally is at a 21-year low.
Former Holden boss Mike Devereux — now Asia-Pacific head of sales for GM — found out how badly relations had soured on a routine visit about a fortnight ago. A week later, Dorizas was gone.
The dealer network has carried Holden for the past five years as its ageing line-up battled newer competition. A turn for the better is a long way away, with no genuinely new cars arriving for at least 18 months.
Next year Holden will rebadge a handful of Opels we’ve seen before (the Opel experiment failed after 11 months). Limited edition Commodores will keep the factory moving, as will minor touch-ups on other models.
Rather than challenging Toyota for top-seller status, as Dorizas boldly claimed, Holden is in fact on the start of an even bigger sales slide.
It gives me no joy to forecast this but Holden probably will be battling for fourth place (as Mazda and Hyundai vie for third) before the factory closes in 2017.
According to insiders, no one from Detroit wants to take on the top Holden job. Any wonder?
Holden’s peak dealer body has written to GM regional boss Stefan Jacoby to request a new Holden boss with “an intimate understanding of the Australian market”.
That is tipped to be former Holden CFO Mark Bernhard, now in China. If appointed he would be the first Australian in almost a quarter of a century to run Holden.
He certainly would have the toughest job in his 28year career with GM.