General Motors' global chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick, has elected to resign effective immediately, the automaker said today. "I can tell you that he failed to meet the expectations the company has for its employees," said GM spokesman Greg Martin. He would not be more specific.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Ewanick failed "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.
Ewanick himself tweeted tonight: "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." Ewanick, 52, joined GM in May 2010 in charge of marketing for the company's North America unit. He was named global chief marketing officer in December 2010.
He had developed a reputation as an innovative marketing leader, but he had moved quickly among several jobs before GM hired him.
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 over the last 12 years, and is expected to report another loss for the second quarter of this year on Thursday.
Prior to joining GM, Ewanick was briefly vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer for Nissan North America. 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 if they are not satisfied, as long as they have less than 4,000 miles on the odometer.
Ewanick was instrumental in streamlining GM's past policy of working with more than 90 different advertising and marketing agencies into a more manageable relationship with two.
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 Manchester United deal 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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