News rarely breaks on a Sunday afternoon, but General Motors announced late yesterday that both Joel Ewanick, its global marketing chief, along with designer Dave Lyon, are no longer employed with the company.
Ewanick, 52, startled many in the industry when he was named North American chief marketing officer in May 2010. Prior to the announcement, he had held a similar title at Nissan for all of six weeks, having been recruited from Hyundai where he spearheaded the company's North American marketing efforts, and helped usher in the famed Hyundai Assurance program.
During his tenure at GM, Ewanick rattled many cages, including eschewing GM’s longtime ad agencies – including Campbell-Ewald – in favor of purchasing all its marketing from a single source. Ewanick also helped usher in Chevrolet’s latest brand mantra (“Chevy Runs Deep”), and controversially moved the company away from Facebook advertising – a move the Wall Street Journal claims irked many of his superiors.
GM, for its part, isn’t saying much on the matter. An official statement from the automaker notes only that Ewanick has “elected to resign effective immediately.” Ewanick turned to his Twitter account, saying "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." Alan Batey, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales and service, will assume Ewanick’s duties on an “interim basis” until a replacement can be found.
Lyon’s sudden change of employment is equally cryptic and surprising. Lyon, 43, was supposed to have assumed responsibility for Opel and Vauxhall design on August 1st. Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North American operations, told Automobile Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings that he was dismissed on matters of “policy and integrity.”
Cardesignnews.com reports that Lyon was ushered out of the GM Design building in Warren, Michigan, by an HR chief on Thursday. No public statement on Lyon’s departure has been issued, but according to CDN, an email circulated to employees by Ed Welburn, GM’s Vice President of Design, simply read “Effective immediately, David Lyon is no longer an employee of General Motors.”
At this point, GM has no official replacement for Lyon at Opel/Vauxhall. CDN claims Mark Adams, the current head of Opel/Vauxhall design who was to transfer to Buick and Cadillac design as part of GM’s design leadership shake-up, will allegedly continue his duties on an interim basis until GM appoints a full-time leader for its European design studios.