The man who has headed up Penske operations in Australia for the past eight years, Randall Seymore, is packing up and heading back to the US to take up a senior role within the giant Penske empire Stateside, a move which some speculate, may trigger negotiations with Daimler, that could see Western Star distribution move across to local subsidiary Daimler Trucks Australia.
Seymore has been Roger Penske’s right-hand man in Australia, and will continue to oversee operations in Australia and New Zealand from his post in America.
“After eight years in Australia establishing the Penske Australia and New Zealand operations, Randall Seymore is transitioning back to Penske Automotive Group,” said a Penske Australia spokesperson.
“In his new role as executive vice president, global operations for commercial vehicles and power systems at PAG, Randall will continue to oversee Penske Australia and New Zealand.
“Hamish Christie-Johnston will continue his role as managing director of Penske Australia and New Zealand, based in Penske’s Melbourne office.”
Penske Australia distributes Western Star Trucks, MAN Truck and Bus and Dennis Eagle, as well as diesel engines, gas engines, and power systems from MTU, Detroit, and Allison Transmission brands.
With Seymore’s departure there is growing speculation that the Western Star brand may move from being distributed by Penske to coming under the control of its parent company, Daimler’s local subsidiary, Daimler Truck’s Australia. Western Star’s distribution down under was tied to Terry Peabody’s TransPacific business. Peabody had taken on the Western Star distributorship in Australia in 1983, and then bailed the then Canadian brand out of potential extinction in 1991, by buying it for a token amount, with help from the Canadian government.
Peabody sold the brand to Daimler nine years later for a windfall $1 billion paycheque, with the proviso that TransPacific retained the Australian distribution for the brand.
When Peabody sold his Australian truck business to Penske in 2013 the Western Star brand was part of the deal.
Senior Daimler executives have revealed privately that they would like to bring the Western Star brand back in house and Seymore’s departure from the Australian operation could be the signal for that to happen