General Motors Co. (GM:US) named Alan Batey global head of Chevrolet, creating a new senior executive position to strengthen Chevy as a worldwide brand.
Batey, who has been GM’s U.S. sales chief and interim marketing head, will continue overseeing U.S. sales and marketing of Chevy, Buick and GMC, the Detroit-based automaker said today in a statement.
“Chevrolet is our mainstream global brand, and with the growth we are experiencing and the barrage of new products we have coming, the time is right for us to have a single leader responsible for managing the brand around the world,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said in the statement.
Batey’s new job mirrors a move Akerson made in October when he named Bob Ferguson as worldwide chief for the company’s Cadillac luxury line as the CEO is pushes to reposition both as GM’s two global brands. Batey had led GM’s U.S. sales operations since June of last year and became interim global chief marketing officer in July after Joel Ewanick was ousted over a disagreement about a Chevrolet sponsorship.
Batey’s career, which began as a mechanical engineering apprentice with GM’s operations in the U.K. in 1979, has included leadership roles in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He was Chevy’s sales leader in the U.S. prior to taking over as sales chief.
Chevy’s worldwide sales totaled 4.9 million vehicles last year, according to today’s statement. The figure was 3.6 million in 2002, Batey told analysts earlier this month. Chevy is sold in more than 140 countries, while a decade earlier it was just in 70, Batey said.
Sixty-three percent of Chevy sales were outside (GM:US) of the U.S. last year while a decade earlier it was 27 percent, Batey told the analysts. Yet Chevy isn’t one of Interbrand’s Top 10 global brands, a list that includes Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US), Apple Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Batey said.
Batey’s comments about the brand also foreshadowed his new position.
“A lot has happened in 10 years, how do we now take it to the next level?” Batey said. “We believe we need to do that by unifying this brand.”
GM rose 1.5 percent to $31.89 at 12:06 p.m. New York time. The shares gained 9 percent this year through yesterday, trailing the 10 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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