GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick abruptly fired

As it deals with falling market share and controversial decisions to pull advertising from the Super Bowl and the Facebook social media site, General Motors Co. fired Joel Ewanick, its global marketing chief.

“Joel failed to meet the expectations the company has of its employees,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin. “We have no further details to provide.”

Ewanick had been seen as a marketing guru in automotive circles.  He devised a successful Hyundai Motor America campaign that offered a refund program when unemployment shot up in 2009 and auto sales slumped. That refund could be obtained within a year of the car’s purchase and was open to consumers who financed or leased their car through the automaker’s financial arm.

Just 300 buyers took advantage of that offer, but it was seen as a marketing success that helped Hyundai maintain some sales momentum and grab market share from rivals even as auto sales were slumping.


During his three years at Hyundai, Ewanick was named Automotive News’ 2009 Marketing All Star of the Year; Brandweek’s 2009 Marketer of the Year and Forbes’ Chief Marketing Officer of the Year.

Ewanick, 52, left Hyundai for a post as chief marketing officer for Nissan North America before joining GM in May 2010 to take charge of marketing for the company’s North America unit. He was named global chief marketing officer in December 2010.

Alan Batey, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales and service, will assume the role of global chief marketing officer on an interim basis.

Ewanick has not been able to work as much magic at GM.


Through June, the automaker has sold a little more than 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S., a 4% gain during a period when the industry has grown sales 15%. 

GM’s share of the U.S. market fell to 18.1% during the first half of this year compared with 19.9% during the same period last year.

Ewanick has a marketing degree from Cal State Northridge


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