Following the sudden departure of Gerry Dorizas after just eight months in the head role at Holden, the Australian subsidiary of General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] has now announced that veteran GM exec Mark Bernhard will now take up the reigns. Importantly, he will be the first Australian to run Holden in 25 years.
Bernhard first joined Holden in 1986 in a finance roll but left the company to work in various international roles at GM. Most recently, he served as CFO for Shanghai GM, the joint venture between GM and China’s SAIC.
“Mark’s knowledge of GM Holden, our region and GM’s global operations will serve him well in his new role,” GM International chief Stefan Jacoby said at today’s announcement. “He will champion the ongoing transition of GM Holden to a national sales company and the repositioning of the Holden brand for long-term growth and profitability.”
Bernhard steps into the role at a time when Holden is preparing to end production of cars in Australia and become a full importer. Holden currently produces its Commodore hero plus a version of the Chevy Cruze but will cease all production in 2017.
Holden is also faced with an aging lineup and rapidly shrinking market share but will attempt to alleviate the issue with some exciting new models. The company will introduce 24 new models over the next five years, a third of which will be sourced from Europe (mostly Opels). There will also be new large car to carry on the Commodore name and a dedicated sports car, rumored to be a version of the next-generation Camaro.
Bernhard will start his new role early in the third quarter of the year. In the meantime, current CFO Jeff Rolfs will run the company.