Monday, June 4, 2007

Marketing chief Murphy leaves Chrysler

Chrysler has not named a replacement for George Murphy, senior vice president of global brand marketing.

Mary Connelly
Automotive News
June 4, 2007 - 1:00 am

DETROIT -- George Murphy joined the Chrysler group in the early days of then-CEO Dieter Zetsche's tenure. Murphy's assignment: focus and spice up the company's marketing.

Murphy, 51, resigned last week as senior vice president of global brand marketing. He plans to pursue other opportunities, the company said in a statement. David Elshoff, a Chrysler group spokesman, said a replacement has not been named. Murphy was unavailable for comment.

Murphy came to Chrysler in February 2001 from Ford Motor Co., where he was general marketing manager for Ford division. He previously had worked for General Electric Co., Coca-Cola Co. and the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

Murphy arrived three months after DaimlerChrysler AG had sent Zetsche to overhaul its U.S. operations. Zetsche now is chairman of the parent company, which last month signed an agreement to sell 80.1 percent of the Chrysler group to Cerberus Capital Management LP, a private equity firm. The deal is pending.

Steven Landry, the Chrysler group's executive vice president of North American sales and marketing, said in the statement that Murphy had "made a key contribution to our efforts to retool our brands." That included an identity campaign for the Chrysler brand that began last month.

But Murphy had been under pressure since December, when Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda told dealers he would review advertising for the Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler brands.

Dealers had complained that the company botched the ad launches of several vehicles. LaSorda criticized ads for the new Dodge Nitro SUV.

Through April, the Chrysler group's U.S. sales for 2007 were down 2.9 percent from the year-ago period.

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