GM dropping black ad agencies (In spite of our love for cars)

(May 5, 2010) General Motors today announced that Susan Docherty has been removed as Vice President, U.S. Marketing to be replaced by Joel Ewanick, effective May 24.  Ewanick, 49, will report to Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. 

The shakeup comes after Docherty said in an April 19th Automotive News interview that she was planning to put more emphasis on targeting ethnic car buyers, but was giving the responsibility to GM's general market agencies. "I think I can use my general-market agency and make sure that the creative is specific," Docherty was quoted as saying.

GM ended it contracts with its African-American ad agencies at the end of 2009. "The general-market agencies are handling African-American creative for Chevy and Cadillac during this transition period," said GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney to Automotive News.

A statement from GM said that Docherty, 47, will be appointed to a new position to be announced soon.

"Susan has been deeply involved in GM"s sales and marketing initiatives for many years," Reuss said.  "With her drive and focus, she has laid the groundwork for solid plans and rejuvenated our agency relationships, placing us in good stead for the future. We look forward to her contribution across the business moving forward."

"Joel is highly regarded in industry and marketing circles and his track record speaks for itself," said Reuss.  "We are very pleased to have his marketing acumen, creative leadership and energy at GM at this critical time."

As the single point for marketing, Ewanick will have responsibility for improving the positioning of the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands and consumer consideration of GM vehicles in the United States.

Most recently, he was vice president of marketing, chief marketing officer for Nissan North America.  Before joining Nissan in March, Ewanick served as vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America. During his three year tenure, Ewanick earned industry recognition as the most impactful automotive marketer in America; Automotive News" 2009 Marketing All Star of the Year; Brandweek"s 2009 Marketer of the Year; and Forbes" Chief Marketing Officer of the Year.
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