For many it’s the seven year itch, but for Roger McCarthy, Scania Australia Managing Director, it’s an eight year itch. After handling the job in Australia since 2009, Roger is stepping aside to introduce some new blood into the top job.
It was at the Brisbane Truck Show, at its old RNA venue, in 2009, where many in the industry first came across the new man at Scania. Many knew little about the dapper Englishman now in their midst, but some in the know had heard of his successes in the UK as National Sales Manager for Scania.
Despite being one of the top selling truck brands in the old country, Scania were seen as an owner driver/small fleet truck by UK truckies. Roger was instrumental in changing this perception and involved in major deals with national fleets to up the profile of the brand at the top end of town.
Observers here in Australia, looked to see if he could pull off a similar transformation at the Swedish truck makers’ HQ in Campbellfield in Victoria. Could he break the Scania brand out of its niche and stable market share, and change perceptions of the brand?
When Roger arrived as Sales boss in 2009, Scania had been a steady performer for over ten years, achieving a market share of around three to four per cent in the heavy duty market consistently. The brand was selling into small fleets at a regular rate, but had not broken into the fleet market.
A series of Managing Directors had come and gone from Europe without making a major impact. 2009 saw some disruption with two successive Managing Directors coming to Australia and getting recalled to Europe, just as they were getting their feet under the desk.
Looking for some stability, Scania appointed Roger to the post, he was already on the ground working in the sales area. He had arrived with little fanfare, but got stuck into the job forthwith.
After this the numbers speak for themselves, and truck sales people live and die by their numbers. Roger’s do look quite good. Scania had ended 2008 with a 3.3 per cent market share in heavy duty. By the end of 2009, this was 4.4. Despite 2010’s figure of 4.2 per cent, 2011 saw 4.8 per cent, 2012 saw the company break new ground at 5.1 per cent.
This trend has continued with 2013 seeing 5.9 per cent and 2014, a surprising 7.3 per cent and 779 trucks sold for the year. 2015 saw a correction in the market, with sales down, but Scania held on to 7.1 per cent market share. The numbers in 2016 continued upwards to 7.5 per cent market share and the fifth highest selling truck brand in heavy duty, behind Kenworth, Volvo, Isuzu and Mack.
By now the perception of the Scania truck brand had completely turned around, it is a serious player in many segments of the market. With the company image transformed, it seems to be the perfect time for Roger to step aside and let a new guy get stuck into the job.
The new guy is Mikael Jansson, who will take up the position as Managing Director from July. He joins Scania Australia from Scania in Sweden where he held the position of Senior Vice President and Head of Parts and Service.
While moving on from his role and no longer playing a part in the day-to-day operations of the business, Roger is to remain a non-executive director of the Scania Australia board. In addition, he will be taking on further non-executive board positions across a number of key Scania growth markets in Asia and Oceania as well as some European markets.