The CEO’s departure will coincide with a restructure of the regional operations of the automotive distribution, retail and logistics specialist that includes the formation of a new division – APAC – which consolidates the current Asia and Australasia businesses and will be headed by George Ashford.
Mr Ashford is currently head of the Asia business, Inchcape’s largest market that he has overseen since handing over the reins at the Australasian branch to Mr Senior on October 2016.
The current Australian operations include responsibility for Subaru and, since mid-2017, Peugeot and Citroen distribution, along with affiliate companies such as AutoNexus, Inchcape Automotive Retail and Trivett.
“In an industry that is rapidly evolving, it is important that we are organised in the right way to meet the challenges, change and complexity ahead,” Mr Senior said.
“Following a review of our regional organisation, Inchcape announced to its employees a new structure that includes the formation of APAC – a new region which comprises the current Asia and Australasia businesses.
“Having spent five years leading Australasia before transferring into the CEO role of the larger Asian business, George is well qualified to integrate and leverage the expanded footprint.
“I am using the opportunity to take early retirement from Inchcape effective April 1, meaning I will leave the company after 29 years to the day. That timing enables me to work with George in providing a seamless changeover.”
Mr Senior moved into the regional role after serving for more than a decade as managing director of Subaru Australia, guiding the ongoing growth and development of the Japanese brand as one of its leading markets worldwide after the baton was passed on in 2005 by former MD (and subsequent chairman, for a further three years) Trevor Amery.
The pair had worked closely for some 17 years, with Mr Senior general manager from 2000-2005 after moving through a variety of key positions spanning national marketing, advertising and corporate affairs.
He is considered the architect of Subaru’s successful foray into rallying, and under his stewardship the brand continued its transformation from a niche proposition to a popular top-10 mainstream player with more than 47,000 annual sales by 2016 and the largest market share (at 4.0 per cent) of any Subaru business globally.
Prior to joining Subaru Australia in 1991, Mr Senior worked as an editor and journalist for News Limited.
Earlier in his career, he worked for LNC Industries which was responsible for various brands including Audi, Fiat, Lancia, Renault, Volkswagen and Honda, and also had a two-year stint overseas with Audi UK.
Mr Ashford, meanwhile, has worked for the London-headquartered Inchcape since 2006, joining as Inchcape Advantage director of implementation that saw him roll out a new retail program across Europe.
He then became managing director of European Retail (2006-2009), and later CEO of Toyota Belgium (2009-2011), before leading the Australasian region in January 2012.
He took on the role as CEO of Inchcape’s Asia division in 2016 when the North Asia and South Asia regions were combined.
By Terry Martin