GM names U.S. sales chief to global Chevy post

DETROIT, June 25 Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:23pm EDT

DETROIT, June 25 (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Tuesday named its U.S. sales chief to lead global Chevrolet, which accounts for more than half of GM's worldwide sales, as the automaker moves to strengthen the mainstream brand.

In addition to his new title of senior vice president at GM Alan Batey will continue as head of U.S. sales, service and marketing. He will report to Chief Executive Dan Akerson in his new job, while continuing to report to North American head Mark Reuss for U.S. sales.

"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," Akerson said in a statement.

GM has defined Chevrolet and Cadillac as global brands, with specific nameplates sold in other parts of the world - Opel in Europe, and Buick in China and the United States.

On Monday, a person familiar with the matter said Batey, 50, would get the top Chevy job, creating a position much like the creation of a global chief for GM's luxury Cadillac brand.

Chevy has seen some turnover in its executive ranks. Last week, GM said Chevy and Cadillac's European sales chief, Susan Docherty, would leave the company in September to spend more time with family.

In January, Batey was credited with launching "Find New Roads," Chevrolet's global advertising campaign. GM executives felt it would resonate better with consumers globally than the previous "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign.

The "Find New Roads" advertising campaign is part of GM's push to make Chevy even stronger globally. Ten years ago, the U.S. market accounted for about 70 percent of the brand's overall sales, but now makes up only 36 percent of the total as overseas sales have grown, especially in China and South America. Chevy is sold in more than 140 countries.

Batey, from Luton, England, began his career with GM in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice for Vauxhall in the United Kingdom. He has held senior management positions in Western Europe, South Korea, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Before joining Chevy in 2010, he led GM's Holden operations in Australia and New Zealand.

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