DETROIT -- Alan Batey will remain head of the Chevrolet brand globally even after he assumes his new role as president of General Motors North America, according to two people familiar with the plan.
Batey was promoted to GM’s top post in North America this week amid a broader succession shakeup atop GM, which named product chief Mary Barra, 51, as its new CEO to replace the retiring Dan Akerson. Batey replaces Mark Reuss, 50, who will take over global product development. The moves take effect Jan. 15.
Since June, Batey, 50, has been serving in a dual role as senior vice president of global Chevrolet, which accounts for more than half of the company’s sales worldwide, and as head of U.S. sales and service for Chevy, Buick and GMC.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on Batey’s role at Chevy. The spokesman echoed previous statements that the company will announce appointments at a later date for the global Chevy post and other unfilled positions, including the U.S. sales position that Batey is leaving.
Batey is charting a course for Chevy’s global growth along with Tim Mahoney, who was hired from Volkswagen last spring to become Chevy’s global chief marketing officer. The two traveled this fall to China, Brazil, Russia and other markets to get fresh perspective on Chevy’s overseas growth prospects.
Creation of the global Chevy position was one of Akerson’s key executive moves, along with appointing Bob Ferguson to a similar position at Cadillac in October 2012. Akerson has pushed to establish Chevy and Cadillac as GM’s “global brands” and believes that will happen faster if one executive is made accountable for growing each brand.
Last week, GM said it will stop selling the Chevy brand in Europe, acknowledging the overlap with the company’s much larger Opel brand.
Citi analyst Itay Michaeli said in a research note following Tuesday’s executive moves that he would like to see GM keep the global Chevy post “given related success at competitors (Ford) and our view that GM’s brands still require substantial branding support to drive higher” prices and market share.
Batey has said that he expects Chevy’s global sales to top 5 million vehicles this year, up slightly from 4.95 million in 2012. The brand’s U.S. sales rose 7 percent through November to 1.79 million vehicles.
As GM North America president, Batey will have ultimate responsibility for sales and marketing but also oversee production and other functions.