Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Marketing VP George Murphy joins Chrysler exodus

George Murphy was senior vice president of global brand marketing for Chrysler group.

Bradford Wernle
Automotive News
May 29, 2007 - 12:58 pm
UPDATED: 5/29/07 4:16 p.m.

DETROIT -- George Murphy has resigned as senior vice president of global brand marketing for the Chrysler group.

Murphy is the third key executive to leave Chrysler in recent weeks. The others are supply chief Peter Rosenfeld, 49, and marketing and vehicle development executive Ann Fandozzi, 36.

Chrysler announced today that Murphy, 51, will leave at the end of May to pursue other opportunities. He had held the marketing job since February 2001. Murphy previously was general marketing manager for the Ford Division of Ford Motor Co. He also had worked for General Electric Co.

Steven Landry, executive vice president of North American sales, marketing, service and parts, said Murphy had "made a key contribution to our efforts to retool our brands -- Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge." Landry praised Murphy for his work on the new Chrysler brand "Engineered Beautifully" campaign, which debuted May 8.

Murphy had been under pressure since December, when Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda announced he was going to conduct a comprehensive review of advertising for all of Chrysler's brands.

Dealers had complained that Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep had botched the launch advertising for some vehicles. LaSorda cited one ad in particular, in which a man in a Dodge Nitro SUV helps another driver with a jump-start. The Nitro driver revs his engine; there is a loud explosion, and the other car goes sky high, disappearing from view for a few seconds before landing with a crash.

Dealers say the ad gave no information about what kind of vehicle the Nitro was.

Murphy joins an exodus of executives from Chrysler after the Feb. 14 announcement that DaimlerChrysler AG was looking for a buyer for the Chrysler group, ending the near decade-long German-American merger.

On May 14, DaimlerChrysler announced that Cerberus Capital Management LP will buy Chrysler for $7.4 billion.

Last week, the Chrysler group announced that Rosenfeld, executive vice president for procurement, would leave the company at the end of the month.

Whirlpool Corp. said Fandozzi, formerly director of Chrysler front-wheel-drive marketing, has joined the company as vice president of its cleaning division, which includes dishwashers, compactors and sinks.

Fandozzi was a key player in the development of the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Grand Caravan minivans, due in dealerships this summer.

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