Chevy Names Batey New Global Brand Boss

Move comes days after Docherty’s unexpected resignation.

by on Jun.25, 2013

Chevy's new global brand czar Alan Batey.

Just days after the head of Chevrolet’s struggling European arm unexpectedly tendered her resignation, General Motors has appointed Alan Batey as its new global brand czar.

The appointment is one of a series of actions by GM meant to shore up Chevy’s image not only in the U.S. but in worldwide markets that have come to increasingly dominate the bowtie brand’s sales.  Nearly three of every four products badged Chevrolet will be sold outside the U.S. in 2013, GM forecasts.

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“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,” said GM CEO Dan Akerson.

Chevrolet sold nearly 1.2 million vehicles around the world during the January to March quarter, its 10th consecutive quarterly record.  It has slowly been regaining momentum in the U.S. and is building traction in a number of other markets, notably Latin America and China.

But it has also had its troubles, particularly in the crumbling European automotive market.  GM veteran Susan Docherty, who has spent several years at the helm of Chevy Europe unexpectedly said she will leave the automaker in September. She has indicated the decision was made for family reasons though many observers question whether the decision was linked to Chevrolet’s problems on the Continent.

(Sue Docherty resigns as Chevy Europe chief. Click Here.)

The maker has made a number of other personnel changes in recent months, some at senior levels, notably including the hiring of Tim Mahoney as global marketing director.  Mahoney, who built a strong reputation in similar roles at Volkswagen, Subaru and Porsche, will now report to Batey.

That means Batey will also have final say over the work done by Commonwealth, its primary advertising agency.  Even there, Chevy has experienced plenty of turmoil over the last several years.

Campbell-Ewald, the brand’s ad agency of record for nine decades was summarily dismissed by Joel Ewanick who serves as GM’s marketing czar for barely two tumultuous years.  He replaced the firm with a new entity called Commonwealth, an unusual coalition of San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, and New York’s McCann Erickson Worldgroup.  This past spring Goodby was itself blown out, leaving McCann Erickson in charge.

(Ewanick’s legacy rewritten; GM marketing in turmoil. Click Here for more.)

Meanwhile, Chevrolet has taken a number of other significant marketing and brand actions, expanding its presence in global soccer, for one thing, signing on for a 5-year run as lead sponsor for the Academy Awards, and even launching a new ad program with Facebook, the social media site Ewanick torpedoed by pulling the GM account.

Batey has been one of the more consistent elements in recent times for Chevy, having joined the brand in 2010.

He has been with GM in a variety of roles since 1979, however, among other things serving as chairman of the maker’s Holden brand in Australia. There, Batey worked closely with Mark Reuss, now the president of GM’s North American operations and a likely candidate to eventually replace CEO Akerson.

While taking on duties as the new Chevrolet brand boss, GM says Batey will also retain his duties as its vice president of U.S. sales and service.

“Alan Batey has worked in markets all over the world, has demonstrated the ability to deliver great business results and understands how to balance global brand consistency while maintaining the local voice of the customer,” said Akerson.

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One Response to “Chevy Names Batey New Global Brand Boss”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    GM’s only real sales growth outside the U.S. is in China and that market has gone flat for all car makers.

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