FORMER Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux is set to take a new senior role with General Motor’s Chinese “home brand” joint venture company, SAIC-GM-Wuling, which pumps out more than two million vehicles a year – 20 per cent of GM global sales.
Currently based in Singapore as GM International vice-president of sales, marketing and aftersales, Mr Devereux will move to China to take up his new position as executive vice-president of SAIC-GM-Wuling, effective August 1.
Canadian-born Mr Devereux – a manufacturing engineer who started his career with GM in Canada in 1984 – is best known in Australia as boss of GM Holden between 2010 and 2013, a turbulent period when GM was weighing the fate of Holden’s Australian manufacturing operations.
Despite Mr Devereux’s best efforts in the face of federal government indifference, GM decided to pull the pin on the plants in Adelaide and Melbourne, leaving it to Mr Devereux to face the cameras in Australia to announce the devastating news in December 2013.
While Holden is folding its manufacturing tent this year, SAIC-GM-Wuling is going from strength to strength in the Chinese market where it sells a range of mini commercial vehicles and passenger cars under the Wuling and Baojun brands.
The operation – based in the southern China city of Liuzhou – is a joint venture between GM and two Chinese manufacturers, SAIC Motor and Guangxi Automobile Group.
SAIC-GM-Wuling is the biggest of the Chinese-branded passenger vehicle manufacturers, outsold only by western brands under the Volkswagen and GM umbrellas.
The Wuling Hongguang and Baojun 730 are the top-selling people-movers in China, while the Baojun 510 is the third best-selling SUV.
In China, Mr Devereux will report to GM executive vice-president and president of GM China, Matt Tsien, who announced the appointment this week.
“Mike brings to his new role extensive global experience in sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing and product development,” Mr Tsien said. “He will play a key role in the further strengthening of SAIC-GM-Wuling’s brands and growth of its product line-up.”
Mr Devereux will succeed Gustavo Céspedes, who is returning to GM Mexico.
By Ron Hammerton