Holden Boss Quits After GM’s Aussie Brand Records Worst Sales Since 1948

Buttner leaves Holden after 16 months at its helm as sales plummeted by 26.6 per cent this year.

Holden boss Dave Buttner has announced that he will leave the Aussie company as chairman and managing director after 16 months in the job.

Buttner came out of retirement and was appointed as Holden’s new boss in 2018. He vowed to turn the company around following the end of Australian car manufacturing in October 2017, but was unsuccessful in his attempts.

As Car Advice notes, Holden’s sales have plummeted by 26.6 per cent this year with September, October, July, April and February being the marque’s worse five worst months in terms of sales in its entire 71-year history.

“Dave’s experience and professionalism have been significant assets for Holden since his appointment in 2018,” GM International Operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said of Buttner. “Not only has he led critical work, he has developed a highly credentialed leadership team, enabling an orderly transition.”

Taking over from Buttner on an interim basis will be the former leader of GM Holden’s commercial operations Kristian Aquilina.

“With critical groundwork underway, the company will implement an orderly leadership succession,” Blissett said. “Kristian has previously served as Managing Director of Holden New Zealand from 2015 to mid-2018, before returning to Australia to lead Marketing. Earlier this year he was promoted to Executive Director Sales, Marketing and Aftersales. With more than 22 years in the company, he has the experience, the leadership qualities and the deep understanding of the business and the market to lead GM Holden at this important time.”

Buttner helped lead Holden in a transition to an SUV and ute brand.

“Holden’s focus remains on getting onto the consideration list for SUV and LCV buyers in Australia and New Zealand,” Buttner commented. “We have made significant progress in getting the fundamentals right. Now is the right time for me to depart the business, with a strong team in place, to be led by Kristian.”

Kristian Aquilina
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