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Rod Keane Retires - GM Holden Executive Director of Manufacturing

2008-06-20 — GM Holden has announced that after over 35 years of service, Rod Keane, Executive Director - Manufacturing will retire effective 1 September, 2008. Rod has enjoyed an impressive career with GM Holden, joining the company in 1972.

During his time with GM Holden he has overseen some extraordinary change, perhaps the most significant being the consolidation of the company’s domestic vehicle assembly operations from facilities across the country to a single vehicle assembly plant at Elizabeth, South Australia.

Rod became Assembly Plant Manager at Elizabeth at the age of 34 and in 1987, was instrumental in converting the plant from a single shift operation to double shift, representing a significant expansion in capacity.

Among his career highlights were the introduction of the VN Commodore in 1988, the opening of a $150 million paint shop at Elizabeth in 1994 and the 1997 introduction of the VT Commodore - a model he notes as particularly significant.

“The VT was a hugely important car for Holden - in addition to it being an all new model, it really formed the cornerstone of Commodore’s twelve year run as Australia’s best selling car. It was also a critical model for Holden to show our manufacturing capability to new export markets and since that time we’ve transitioned successfully from a domestic manufacturer to compete and win on the world stage.”

Rod left Holden Vehicle Operations, Elizabeth in 2000 for the position of Executive Director of Powertrain and Chassis Components in GM Europe. He quickly progressed to the role of Manufacturing Vice President for Fiat GM Powertrain, a joint venture company with 17 plants in nine countries across Europe, Asia and South America.

Rod returned to Australia at the end of 2004, to his current board level position of Executive Director - Manufacturing, overseeing operations at both Elizabeth’s vehicle assembly plant and Holden Engine Operations, Fishermans Bend, Melbourne. Since his return he has overseen the introduction of the $1billion VE Commodore and WM ranges, the Pontiac G8 export program to the United States and the most recent addition to the VE range, the Sportwagon which went into production at Elizabeth last week. He believes that he leaves Holden’s manufacturing operations in a strong position. He says:

“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for the Australian automotive manufacturing industry but we continue to do well. We are running the plant at full capacity, Commodore was number 1 in May, we are doing well in export markets and of course we are just launching the new Sportwagon and several new export models.

“We’ve got great product, great people and a great plant plus a proven ability to adapt thanks to the flexibility shown everyday by our workforce. I feel confident that this stands the manufacturing facilities in both South Australia and Victoria in good stead for the future.”

Two executive appointments to the Holden Senior Leadership team will become effective 1 August.

Dave Gibbons, currently Plant Manager of Shreveport Assembly, Louisiana, USA will join GM Holden on 1 August as Executive Director - Manufacturing for Vehicle Assembly Operations in Elizabeth.

Martyn Cray, currently Plant Manager Holden Engine Operations will be appointed GM Powertrain Lead Executive for GM Holden.

[Source: GM Holden]
 

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Yes, I have had the pleasure of meeting Rod Keane when I was on a project with Holden and other Government personnel at Elizabeth to introduce the new occupation of Manufacturing Maintenance Technician at Holden.

I was always in awe of how Rod would "sweep" through the Apprenticeship Trainoing Centre on a friday to ensure the plant was "spick and span"

Spotless plant under his regime.

Mike
 

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.... the Sportwagon which went into production at Elizabeth last week. He believes that he leaves Holden’s manufacturing operations in a strong position. He says:

“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for the Australian automotive manufacturing industry but we continue to do well. We are running the plant at full capacity, Commodore was number 1 in May, we are doing well in export markets and of course we are just launching the new Sportwagon and several new export models. ....
Yay the Sportswagon is in production! Ford Terrortory watch out.... the soccer moms will be deserting you in droves very soon.
 
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