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General Motors dumps high profile global marketing boss Joel Ewanick

Well, well, the world’s most famous marketer, General Motors global CMO Joel Ewanick (left), instigator of the Commonwealth agency for Chevrolet and the decision to award all the company’s $3bn global media budget to Carat, has ‘resigned.’

Not that he seems to have had a lot of choice in the matter. According to GM spokesman Greg Martin: “The resignation is disappointing but he failed to meet the expectations that a company has of an employee.”

Among other dramatic moves Ewanick, who had been charged by the US car giant with making big cuts to its global marketing expenditure, pulled GM’s $10m spend with Facebook and also announced that the company was to abandon Super Bowl advertising. He chose to announce the Facebook decision a couple of days before the social network’s massive $100bn stock market debut, prompting fury at Facebook and on Wall Street as this clearly contributed to the company’s disappointing public debut. The shares have lost about a third of their offer price.

Ewanick, who made his name at Hyundai, is being replaced in the short term by US VP of sales and service Alan Batey. Batey began his career as a mechanic at UK offshoot Vauxhall in 1979.

GM denies that Ewanick’s sudden departure has anything to do with the Facebook decision although that is barely credible. But the company has also been losing share in America at a time when the US car market has been booming. Most of Ewanick’s focus has been on its biggest brand Chevrolet but the others matter too. Upscale Buick has been hammered by German rivals as the company has removed customer incentives.

Ewanick, 52, has always been an accident waiting to happen as he has ignited bomb after bomb at GM. Earlier he tweeted: “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.”

The fate of Commonwealth, a bespoke agency set up to handle Chevrolet which is dominated by McCann with input from Goodby Silverstein, must also be in the balance as might be the decision to hire Carat, now owned by Japanese marcoms outfit Dentsu.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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