WEST AUSTRALIAN supplier Bus and Coach International (BCI) has appointed long-time manager and bus industry veteran Desmond Armstrong as its new CEO. Former CEO Ron Nazzari has stepped away from the day-to-day management of the company.
Starting as Nazzari Hino Bus Sales and Service 27 years ago, BCI is now one of the most recognisable brands in the industry. Ron Nazzari will still continue as chairman and shareholder of the Xiamen, China-based bus body builder FT-BCI.
Armstrong and Nazzari have shared 30 years of friendship and the former has worked at BCI since 1997. His position progressed at BCI from service manager, operations manager to GM and now CEO. Armstrong has 35 years’ experience in the heavy vehicle industry, starting as a diesel mechanic in South Africa for Asian and European commercial vehicles brands at different dealerships. He then migrated to Australia in 1988, where he held management positions at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, GPR Trucks and AHG. He also has mechanical engineering and Australian trade certificates.
“I first met Ron when I was a new migrant looking for a better life in Australia,” said Armstrong. “About three years later Ron had started his business and that’s where I got to know more about his passion and determination with this industry, which has evolved so much over the years.”
When BCI founder and chairman Ron Nazzari established the company in 1991 it was a small, family-run operation in Perth. Today BCI’s head office is still located in Perth, but with dealerships in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New Zealand.
“Nazzari had a Ford Falcon that was his office, workshop and spare parts department all in one,” remembered Armstrong. “Back then buses where so basic you only needed to carry fuel filters and fan belts.”
“Over the years I had many dealings with the Nazzari Family, supporting the product they built until one day I made the choice to join the family business as operations manager. That just meant I was doing everything from helping build a bus, doing the pre-deliveries and then drive anywhere across the country,” he explained.
While BCI is one of the largest bus and coach companies in Australia, the team still firmly maintains a family-focused approach to business, says Armstrong. These values extend through to the network of experienced dealers, who work to offer customers the highest level of after-sales support in Australia and across the Tasman, he says.