According to Australian publication Motoring.com.au, Aquilina will soon be named head of Cadillac’s international and Middle East business operations and will begin working out of the luxury automaker’s Dubai offices. Aquilina’s last day as managing director of Holden will be November 1st.
Aquilina was named interim managing director of Holden in late 2019 after Gary Buttner stepped down from the role due to declining sales. GM announced it would wind down Holden’s operations shortly after, leaving him at the helm of the company as it dealt with pushback from an irate Holden dealer network upset over its sudden departure. Aquilina also helped lead the company through a subsequent Australian senate inquiry over its decision to bail out of Australia.
Aquilina first joined Holden in 1997 and has held numerous high-ranking roles within the company in his 23-year tenure. This included a stint as the managing director of Holden New Zealand from 2015 to mid-2018. He also led Holden’s marketing efforts in Australia before being promoted to interim managing director last year.
Current Holden New Zealand managing director, Marc Ebolo, will lead a newly established business unit called GM Australia New Zealand (GMANZ). GMANZ will include General Motors Special Vehicles, along with Isuzu New Zealand and Holden aftersales.
“I am privileged to have worked with so many talented people who, among other things, have implemented a challenging but significant transformation of our business in Australia and New Zealand,” Aquilina said in a prepared statement. “Now is the right time to hand over to Marc (Ebolo).”
“I have every confidence that under Marc’s leadership, the team will be successful well into the future.”
“In Australia and New Zealand, we will work very closely with our key partners – the soon-to-be-appointed GMSV dealers, Holden service outlets, Walkinshaw Automotive Group and Isuzu – to grow our businesses and theirs,” Ebolo added. “I look forward to working with our partners and to bringing to Australia and New Zealand exciting new vehicles from GM’s global portfolio, to compete in niche segments.”
The GMSV venture will focus on importing North American GM models into Australia, where they will be converted to left-hand-drive by its local manufacturing partner, Walkinshaw Automotive Group. The C8 Corvette will be among the first GMSV products to arrive, although it will not have to be converted locally, as both RHD and LHD Corvettes are built at Bowling Green Assembly. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and, eventually, Silverado 2500 HD, will also be sold through GMSV.
Steve Kiefer, president of GM International, believes that projects like GMSV will ensure the health of the automaker’s business in Australia and New Zealand for the long term future.
“GM continues to see significant opportunity in Australia and New Zealand,” Kiefer said. “We are confident that under Marc’s leadership, our GMSV business is ready to compete in key niche segments, including the Silverado light and heavy duty, as well as the C8 Corvette, coming next year.”