Gerry Keaney (left Volvo Car Corporation May 2011)



Name: Gerry Keaney

Present position: He left the company in May 2011

Joined Volvo: 1990

Born: 2 October 1956

Education:Business graduate of North Staffs Polytechnic, Chartered Accountant.


Previous positions:

2003 -2011: Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service (MSS)

2002 -2003: Vice President, Sales, Volvo Car

1999 -2002: Regional President, Europe/Beneluk Market Area, Volvo Car

1996 -1998: Managing Director, Volvo Car UK Ltd.

1993 -1995: Sales & Marketing Director, Volvo Car UK Ltd.

1992 -1993: Sales & Dealer Director, Volvo Car UK Ltd.

1991: Field Operations Manager, Volvo Car UK Ltd.

1990: Network Representation Manager, Volvo Car UK Ltd

1986 -1990: Management consultant, Coopers Hybrand,

1984 -1986: Financial Controller, Habitat Ltd.

1982 -1984: Financial Analyst, Rockwell GB Ltd.

1980 -1982: British Leyland: various financial positions at Jaguar and Land Rover.

Civil status:
Married, with three daughters


Hobbies: Sports, collecting maps, music, Italy, includingits wines and food




Gerry Keaney was born on 2 October 1956 in St. Helens, a small Lancashire town close to Liverpool. The family later moved to Rugby in the British midlands – almost in the heart of the car industry – where he attended school.

At the age of 18, he enrolled in a Business Studies course at North Staffs Polytechnic and graduated in 1979. He is also a chartered accountant.


“After that, there was never any doubt that I would look for a job in the car industry,” he recalls.


He joined British Leyland, spending two years with the company as an accountant – working with Land Rover and then with Jaguar!

“At that stage, I wanted to work for a somewhat smaller company. So I left BL for the British subsidiary of US Rockwell, which made axles for most of the European truckmakers, and I was also based for a time in the USA and Italy.”


Gerry Keaney’s career then took a completely different direction when he was appointed financial controller of Habitat, the British furniture and home furnishing multiple.


“Having visited Sweden to study IKEA, Habitat’s founder established a similar operation in a smaller format – and it was a concept that worked well,” he remarks. “However, the company then changed hands several times and, in the late 1990s, it was acquired by – yes, IKEA!


“I enjoyed the job – it was great to be in the High Street and to work directly in the everyday sales situation. We were also successful and we had a great management team.”


Three years later, he joined a firm of management consultants, where he remained for four years.


“We had many interesting customers, and we undertook a number of exciting and strategic projects in my time there,” remembers Gerry Keaney.


In 1990, he joined Volvo UK, then an independent importer.

“And a highly successful one,” he adds. “At that time, Britain occupied a strong position as the second biggest Volvo market in the world. I had a number of different managerial positions before I was appointed MD in 1996. Three years on, I became Regional President for Beneluk (Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Ireland and Britain) at Volvo Car – Volvo's largets region outside North America.”


In August 2002, he moved to Göteborg as VP Sales under Dieter Laxy, who was actually due to retire but took charge of operations in Germany instead. As a result, he was succeeded by Gerry Keaney as head of Marketing, Sales and Customer Service (MSS) on 1 March 2003.


Gerry Keaney is totally convinced that Volvo Car Corporation’s target of selling 600,000 cars annually – compared with 400,000 or so at present – can be achieved by the end of the decade.


“We can increase our potential dramatically by developing the same type of flexible platform for small cars as we have for our many bigger models,” he asserts.


“We can grow by offering a varied range of small cars. We can also expand geographically by targeting growth markets in China and the nations of eastern Europe – such as Russia, where we are already experiencing strong growth. We also have the potential for significant expansion in southern Europe.


“Our range of engines and drivelines also offers opportunities for growth, especially in the diesel and bi-fuel segments. We must also exploit our membership of Ford’s PAG (Premier Automotive Group), as well as the benefits of scale available to us as part of the Ford Motor Company.


“We have set ourselves a tough target – to increase our annual production in a controlled manner to 600,000 cars and to do so while maintaining profitability. In a time of recession or when the dollar is weak, causing a decline in profits in North America, our job is to keep our costs in check. There will always be currency fluctuations. Volvo has dealt with those before and will do so again!


“Being part of the Ford Motor Company is a fact of life for us and I know that Ford are very positive to the Volvo brand. We have a responsibility to deliver a profit to our shareholders and we have the same responsibility to ourselves. Ford knows that we do not want to be a smaller version of itself, but that we want to continue to develop our own, particularly strong and distinctive brand. Our name and our heritage makes us unique and gives us the opportunity of continued development.


“That said, if we need to adopt cost-cutting measures, we will naturally do so. That’s life in a major concern!”


Gerry Keaney is married to Antonia, who is of Italian descent. The couple have three daughters, Amy, Rachel and Cordelia. They also have two Italian Spinoni dogs.

“The dogs are another example of my great love for Italy. Every year, we rent a place in Tuscany, where we spend as much time as we can.”


Apart from that, he is very interested in sport, although he is now more a spectator than a participant.

“I keep fit by running, although I was once an active rugby player. My other hobby is collecting antique maps from around the world, mostly from Europe. I am interested in both the geographical and artistic aspects of cartography.

“As a near-Scouser, I obviously like music. Not just the Beatles, but a great deal of other stuff.”


He also mentions that he has some unusual role models in terms of leadership. These include the Sex Pistols pop group, as well as John Cleese (of Fawlty Towers fame) and US General Norman Schwartzkopf, who became famous as Stormin’ Norman in the 1991 Gulf War.



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