An illustrious career comes to a close for Ford Motor Company Australia’s former President and CEO.
In today’s workplace, people stay in their jobs for an average of just over four years – so the idea of somebody working in the same company for over 30 is becoming increasingly rare.
But that’s exactly what Bob Graziano achieved. The former Ford Australia boss reached the significant milestone of 32 years with Ford Motor Company, before retiring earlier this year, in March.
Since 1982, Graziano has been part of the fabric that makes up almost every aspect of Ford’s operations. He started as a Sales Analyst in the Omaha Ford District Office – and an ambitious nature and relentless drive quickly propelled him up the ranks.
Highlights of his colourful career include his role as President and CEO of Ford Australia, his work as Brand Manager, Director and Product Manager at Ford North America, and his Chairmanship of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
Amongst his diverse career history, Graziano was also appointed General Marketing Manager of Ford Brazil and Chairman and CEO of Ford Motors, China. Adding to this, Graziano worked as Executive Vice President and Representative Director for the Mazda Motor Corporation.
Graziano has also retired from his aforementioned position as FCAI President and Chairman.
The FCAI is Australia’s peak industry organisation representing the manufacturers and importers of passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles in Australia. Since joining the FCAI in 2010, Graziano was able to make key contributions to the organisation’s long list of achievements.
‘We thank Bob Graziano for the leadership, advice and strategic direction he has provided the FCAI during his time as a director and president,’ said FCAI CEO, Tony Weber.
‘His commitment and experience has helped the FCAI successfully advocate across a broad-range of issues for the benefit of the entire Australian automotive industry.’
Most Australians will recognise Graziano for his local leadership of Ford factories in Broadmeadows and Geelong. Despite the former CEO’s resignation, both factories will continue operations until October 2016.
Graziano said in a media statement: ‘Leading the team in Australia through such an important and difficult time has been an honour’.
The progress we have made on transforming the business in the last two years has been dramatic – completely rethinking the experience our Dealers deliver to our customers and dramatically improving sales and service satisfaction, securing robust agreements that will allow manufacturing employees to move on from Ford with dignity and hope, and ensuring we can continue to serve our customers with 20 new vehicles by 2020.’
Ford Asia Pacific President Dave Schoch praised Graziano for his leadership and vision.
‘Bob has been a terrific leader for Ford in so many roles around the world,’ he said.
‘With Bob at the helm, we have set the business on a new path that will result in a thriving product development centre and a world-class marketing and sales organisation serving the wants and needs in Australia for years to come.’
Bob also spoke last year at the AADA National Dealer Convention, inspiring the crowd of delegates with his wealth of global knowledge and peerless insight into the automotive industry.
For Graziano, family played a big role in his decision to retire. It was time to repatriate to Detroit to join his wife and five children who moved to the US 18 months prior to announcing his retirement.
Throughout his globetrotting career and diverse range of roles, one thing always remained – Bob’s unwavering passion for the automotive industry.
His work in creating the foundation and strategy behind Ford Australia and New Zealand’s challenging transition into a new era will remain a notable part of his legacy.
Ford Australia’s now previous head of sales and marketing, Graeme Whickman, will take over the position at the helm.
Whickman, 46, has spent his 18-year career at Ford in a variety of marketing and sales positions in The Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
He will maintain his role as leader of the sales and marketing team, whilst looking to continue to improve the dealership experience and solidify Ford’s profitability in Australia.