New In The Job - general manager, Audi NZ
…In general management – automotives
What’s the appointment? Dean Sheed made general manager of European Motors Distributor Audi.
What kind of work does his new role require? Dean’s new role as general manager will require him to oversee all aspects of the Audi brand in New Zealand. “It doesn’t matter if its sales volume targets, bottom line profitability, customer satisfaction, right through to marketing, advertising and technical training of our technicians all around the country.”
What got him interested in the role? “I’ve been with Volkswagen for over twelve years now, with Volkswagen and Audi being part of the larger Volkswagen group, so I’ve been in the automotive industry all my life.” Dean has been in constant association with the Audi brand over his career, being involved in motor vehicles for most of his life.
What’s the job he is leaving? Dean left his previous position as general manager at Volkswagen New Zealand after a thirteen-year tenure with the vehicle brand.
Where else has he worked previously? Dean has worked among one of the great motor companies Ford Motor Company over the years. “My original post-university studies were actually at Ford Motor Company for many years where I became a graduate trainee at the company.” He later worked his way up through Ford Motor Company working in many aspects of the brand before moving on to the Volkswagen brand.
What qualifications has he attained? “I’m a Cantabrian,” says Dean. “I studied at Canterbury University where I managed to pick up a Double Major in Marketing & Economics, as well as attaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Finance from Massey University.”
What advice would he give to someone entering the management industry? “It’s all about understanding the economy and the markets in which you are operating in. Understanding it at a ‘macro’ level helps you understand the effects on the market within your industry, and then understand your own industry and how that works in relation to the economy it is running in.” Dean suggests looking at both a macro and micro levels before entering a senior management role, as well as knowing your competition. “You need to understand the surrounding influences in the industry that you’re in; not just your own business but of your competitors as well. Work with your competitors, not without them.”
What is one of the highlights of his career? “Most likely watching the Volkswagen brand becoming more nationally recognised and accepted as a mainstream brand in the market place.” Dean joined the Volkswagen brand when it was a fairly small brand, retailing around 350 cars nationally a year. “However, last year we almost clipped 3,500 cars nationally so its nearly been a ten-fold increase over those years.”
Where does he see the New Zealand automotive industry heading? Dean explains the expansion of the automotive industry over the next couple of years. “We have been starved of product over the last few years and large businesses have been putting off some purchases to counter these losses,” says Dean. “We will most likely see new supply streams coming in, particularly through China and from India, where we will see the rise of those, what we would have called, third world countries up to second and first world competitors.” Dean says this would take some time but will eventually happen, including a consolidation of brands globally and that the industry will be seeing bigger families of brands over the horizon.