30 July 2012

Joel Ewanick Resigns from GM

Story first reported from Detroit Free Press

General Motors' global chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick, has elected to resign effective immediately, the automaker announced Sunday evening.

Greg Martin, GM spokesman, said  Ewanick failed to meet expectations for company employees.

He declined to be more specific.

Ewanick, 52, joined GM in May 2010 to lead marketing in the company's North America unit.

He soon set in motion the first of several management shake-ups as GM continued its restructuring post-bankruptcy. He became global marketing chief in December 2010, giving him oversight of a $4.5-billion budget.

Ewanick had developed a reputation as an innovative marketing leader, but also as someone who had moved quickly among jobs before GM hired him.

"It has been a privilege & honor to work with the GM Team and to be a small part of Detroit's turnaround. I wish everyone at GM all the best," he tweeted on his Twitter account Sunday.

GM's market share in the U.S. for the first six months of 2012 slipped to 18.1% from 19.9% a year earlier, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

Ewanick's departure comes amid GM's continuing effort to clearly communicate to investors how it will restructure its European business that has lost more than $12 billion during the last 12 years, and is expected to report another loss for the second quarter of this year on Thursday.
Before joining GM, Ewanick was vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer for Nissan North America for little more than a month.

Before joining Nissan, he served as vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America. At Hyundai he launched the Hyundai Assurance program during the depth of the financial crisis in 2009. That program allowed customers to return their Hyundai vehicles if they lost their jobs.

Ewanick's departure comes less than three weeks after Chevrolet launched a similar program called "Love it or Return it" that allows consumers who buy Chevrolets between now and Labor Day to return them between 30 and 60 days of ownership if they're not satisfied, as long as they have less than 4,000 miles on the odometer.

Ewanick was instrumental in streamlining Chevrolet's more than 70 different advertising and marketing agencies into a more manageable relationship with one: In March, Ewanick orchestrated the merger of two large agencies -- Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco and McCann Erickson Worldwide -- into one new agency called Commonwealth to handle Chevrolet advertising globally.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Ewanick clashed with GM over "failing to properly vet the financial details of a European soccer-sponsorship deal that he struck recently."

Chevrolet sponsors both Manchester United and Liverpool Football Club.

Those deals came shortly after GM announced it would not advertise in the 2013 Super Bowl and that it would not pay for any advertising on Facebook.

Alan Batey, vice president, U.S. Sales and Service, will assume the role of global chief marketing officer on an interim basis.

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