Richard Phillips, who joined GM Holden as an apprentice fitter and machinist in 1987, is named executive director-manufacturing.

Born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, Phillips, 41, was named GM Holden apprentice of the year in 1991 and spent his early years in a number of supervisory and production planning roles at Holden Vehicle Operations.

In 2001, Phillips moved to the role of program manager for VE and WM models on the manufacturing engineering team in preparation for the introduction of the all-new Holden platforms.

Two years later, he became director-manufacturing engineering and facilities and was responsible for the execution of production requirements and plant readiness for GM Holden’s billion-dollar VE program at Elizabeth.

Following the launch of the VE and WM program, Phillips moved back to a production-based role in 2006 as area manager of GM Holden’s body shop.

Phillips’ first overseas assignment was in 2007, as General Motors North America’s director of body-manufacturing engineering and execution. He oversaw a number of programs across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, including the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt program at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck body-shop facility.

He returned to Australia in 2009 as director-vehicle-assembly operations at GM Holden and played an integral role in the successful launch of the locally made Holden Series II Cruze sedan and hatchback in 2011.

As a member of GM Holden’s senior leadership team, Phillips will report to GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux.