General Motors today announced the appointment of Jess Bala as Managing Director, GM Australia and New Zealand, effective September 1, 2023.
Bala brings deep knowledge of global vehicle product strategy, having most recently served as Cadillac’s Director of Global Product Planning and Product Strategy. She played a central role in Cadillac’s transition to an all-EV brand by the end of the decade.
In the role of Managing Director for GM Australia and New Zealand, Jess will lead operations across both countries including GM Specialty Vehicles, Isuzu New Zealand, Customer Care & Aftersales including Holden Aftersales, and Chevrolet Racing.
“Jess is a highly experienced GM professional who has 15+ years leading and implementing winning product strategies, including the introduction, and positioning of electric vehicles in both retail and commercial markets,” said Ernesto Ortiz, President and Managing Director of GM’s Strategic Markets, Alliances and Distributors region, which includes Australia and New Zealand.
Most recently, Bala launched the XT4 MCM and the highly popular Escalade V, as well as key electric vehicle launches, including the Cadillac LYRIQ in North America and China, while also developing plans to introduce Ultra Cruise in future Cadillac vehicles.
Having begun her career with GM in Australia, Jess Bala also has a great understanding of the auto industry in Australia and New Zealand.
“Australia and New Zealand are critical markets in GM’s international strategy and Jess’ appointment comes at an important time in the operation, with further opportunity and transformation for the business on the horizon,” Ortiz said.
Bala will succeed Marc Ebolo, who is moving to a new role in GM – as Director of Sales for GM Middle East, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I want to thank Marc for his leadership. His expertise enabled GM to set up a highly successful business in Australia and New Zealand, overseeing several operations including the Holden aftersales operation, Isuzu Trucks in New Zealand, launching Chevrolet Racing, and GM Specialty Vehicles, which delivers hand-picked vehicles to customers that want to live big and make a powerful statement,” said Ortiz.
Jess Bala said that she will continue to focus on customers, partnerships, and employees, while also looking to the opportunities that are available in the short and long term.
“Across Australia and New Zealand, we will remain focused on putting the customers first by bringing winning products and a world-class ownership experience,” said Bala.
“GM Australia and New Zealand has a strong foundation for future growth, deploying new technologies, and building new partnerships to surprise and delight our customers.”
Ebolo said he was proud to have led the GM team through the establishment of GM Australia and New Zealand, including producing continuity of service for long-time customers, as well as launching Chevrolet Racing and GM Specialty Vehicles, with the powerful and durable Silverado and the track-ready Corvette.
“I am honoured to welcome Jess, a native of Australia, back home. It gives me great pride to be able to say that I have worked with so many talented and hardworking colleagues in the past three years. This team has built a highly successful specialty business from the ground up while also managing several other moving parts in the operation. There are great opportunities ahead and it is the perfect time to welcome a new leader who will usher in the next phase of the business,” said Ebolo.
“I am confident that under Jess’ leadership, the team and business will thrive.”