ATECO group of companies has appointed its former head of financial services, Roger Zagorski, as its new managing director, replacing Ric Hull who has retired after more than 15 years with the group.
Mr Zagorski (47), who joined Ateco in 2010 from positions including managing director of Mercedes-Benz New Zealand, established Ateco subsidiary Branded Financial Services and expanded it to have a $150 million portfolio and more than 5000 customers.
The executive chairman of Ateco group of companies, Neville Crichton, said Mr Zagorski had a proven record as a senior manager and a strategic approach to planning and running automotive businesses.
“This makes him the ideal choice to succeed Ric Hull, who not only brought in major new business opportunities for Ateco, such as Kia and our Chinese brands, but who has also given Ateco a sound organisational structure, enabling it to maximise business opportunities in the ever-changing automotive market.”
Though retired, Mr Hull remains on the board of Ateco companies. Mr Crichton said Mr Hull had played a key role in the success of Ateco over the past 16 years.
“He transformed Kia sales from less than 5000 units a year to more than 26,000 per annum.
“He steered Ateco as the first – and most successful – company to bring Chinese vehicles to Australia and New Zealand.
“I am especially pleased that he has agreed to continue as a director of the company. His advice and support will be invaluable to both Roger and me as we move forward.”
Roger Zagorski started in the car industry in 1996 as part of the start-up team for Mercedes-Benz Finance Australia. In 2004, he moved to New Zealand as managing director of Daimler-Chrysler Financial Services.
In 2007 he was appointed managing director and executive general manager of Mercedes-Benz New Zealand.
Mr Zagorski said Ateco’s core strength is its flexibility and adaptability to shifting market conditions.
“This, along with our unique range of brands makes Ateco an exciting and interesting place to work,” he said.
“The depth of experience in management and organisational staff is very strong and one of the reasons the company is unique.”
Mr Zagorski said the agility of the company made it capable of finding and securing new business opportunities.
He said the recent change in distributorship of some brands – Great Wall moved to Haval Motors Australia and Lotus to Simply Sports Cars – was “part of the dynamics” of the industry.
But he said the change did not mean he would look to replace those brands.
“We would not replace just for the sake of replacement,” he said.
“We have to ensure new opportunities fit with our business. We are always looking for partners but we’re under no pressure to replace brands.”
Mr Zagorski said his aim was to strategically build on the strengths of the company “to allow Ateco to continue playing a significant role in the continuously more dynamic automotive industry”.
“This will involve working in the best interests of the dealers we work with, the brands we represent and of course, our Ateco team,” he said.
Polish-born Roger Zagorski lives in Sydney and is married with two teenage children.
By Neil Dowling