Holden boss steps down after just 16 months

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Words: Nile Bijoux
3 Dec 2019

Holden boss Dave Buttner has jumped ship after 16 months at the helm just as the company prepares to post its lowest sales figures since 1948.

Buttner, a former president of Toyota Australia came out of retirement with the intent of turning Holden’s fortunes around following the shutdown of Australian car manufacturing in 2017. However, the brand has continued to struggle, recently posting a sales decline in Australia of 26.6 per cent for 2019 so far. Official sales figures, due to be released tomorrow are expected to show the previously top-selling brand dropping outside of the top ten on the sales charts.

A statement from parent company GM said that Buttner was stepping down for ‘personal reasons’, with GM’s general manager of international operations, Julian Blissett adding that Buttner’s “experience and professionalism have been significant assets for Holden since his appointment in 2018.”

Kristian Aquilina will step into the role for the time being, making him the seventh chairman to lead the company in just ten years. Kristian previously worked as the managing director for Holden New Zealand from 2015 to mid-2018, before returning to Australia. Earlier this year he was promoted to Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales.

“With more than 22 years in the company, he has the experience, the leadership qualities and the deep understanding of the business and the market to lead GM Holden at this important time.” said Senior Vice President, GM International Operations, Julian Blissett.

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