Former Eagers CEO Ward joins MotorCycle Holdings in major board renewal

Former Eagers CEO Ward joins MotorCycle Holdings in major board renewal

New MotorCycle Holdings non-executive director Martin Ward

With 18 years as CEO of Eagers Automotive (ASX: APE) behind him, Martin Ward has joined the board of MotorCycle Holdings (ASX: MTO) in a move the motorbike retailer says shores up the company’s leadership team for future growth.

Ward, who left Eagers in 2021, has been appointed a non-executive director along with seasoned retail industry executive Katie McNamara, the former chief strategy and customer officer at Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL).

MotorCycle Holdings says the appointments are part of a succession plan by the company that brings to the board ‘two highly credentialled directors with automotive and retail experience’.

Their appointment comes on the heels of a series of acquisitions by MotorCycle Holdings this year, including the $60 million deal last month for Mojo Group, one of the country’s biggest wholesalers of motorcycles, spare parts and accessories, and the purchase of Sydney City Motorcycles in June for an undisclosed sum.

Ward and McNamara will join the MotorCycle Holdings board on 1 November 2022, ahead of the retirement of chairman David Foster and non-executive director Warren Bee in December. Non-executive director Rick Dennis will step into the chairman’s role to replace Foster.

“In Martin and Katie, we have appointed two proven leaders with an outstanding understanding of the motor industry,” says Foster.

“Both are experienced and well respected across the industry. They will play pivotal roles in helping to shape the group’s strategy into the future.”

Ward was CEO of Eagers Automotive from 2005 until February 2021 overseeing a portfolio of $470 million in group assets. He remained an advisor to the company’s board after his departure.

“Martin brings incredibly relevant experience to the group,” says Foster. “With Eagers, he recently led a transformational merger, navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, and steered the company through major structural and cyclical challenges.”

 At Super Retail Group, McNamara was responsible for corporate strategy integration and execution, analytics, marketing and customer strategy. Before that she was the Asia-Pacific vice president for IBM and worked extensively across Asia developing market entry strategies and implementing digital transformation with a focus on consumer products and retail businesses.

“Katie’s consistent customer-first, technology-driven approach, makes her an excellent fit for our organisation as it enters its next phase of growth and digital transformation as an omnichannel retailer,” says Foster.

“Her fresh perspective and executive experience in a leading automotive products, tools and in-car technology company will ensure our business strengthens its position as the market leader in the motorcycle industry.”

MotorCycle Holdings founder and CEO David Ahmet paid tribute to Foster who has been with the company since before its listing on the ASX.

“David has played a key role in MotorCycle Holdings’ growth since joining the board before our IPO in 2016 and then becoming chair later that year,” he says.

“We are fortunate to be able to hand the reins to Rick who has been a very capable and diligent board member.”

Incoming chairman Dennis says he is looking forward to leading the group ‘at a particularly exciting time following our recent acquisition of Mojo Group’.

“We remain committed to leading the industry and will continue to leverage our unique scale, geographic footprint and brand representation for the benefit of our shareholders,” he says.

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