In a surprise move, Holden’s managing director and chairman, Mark Bernhard, is out. General Motors’ Australian subsidiary has brought in former Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner to succeed him.
The announcement occurred on Wednesday when Holden said Bernhard would depart GM. It’s unclear where the now-former Holden boss will go. He was the first Australian to head up the brand since 1990 and the sixth top executive since 2003. Buttner will become the seventh managing director to waltz into Holden’s revolving door of top leadership.
“Holden is where it all started for me. It has been an honor to lead Holden as we laid the foundation for a new future of this iconic Australian company,” said Bernhard.
Buttner is credited with steering Toyota through its end of Australian manufacturing phase successfully, something Holden hasn’t quite figured out yet.
Holden said the appointment of Buttner comes at a critical time when it “seeks to leverage its strongest ever vehicle portfolio to win more customers, grow sales and strengthen GM Holden for the future.” Holden has slipped considerably on the Australian sales chart since local manufacturing wrapped up last October. New vehicle launches, such as the imported ZB Commodore and Equinox, haven’t been home runs as imagined, either.
Most recently, Bernhard admitted Holden remains in poor shape since the end of manufacturing.
Buttner will officially succeed Bernhard on August 1, 2018.