Chevy's global CMO retires amid broader cuts at parent GM
- Chevy's global CMO Tim Mahoney will retire on March 1, GM confirmed to Ad Age. No replacement for Mahoney has been announced.
- Mahoney, an auto industry veteran, took on the global CMO mantle at Chevy in 2013 after a stint as chief product and marketing officer at Volkswagen of America, along with jobs at Subaru of America and Porsche Cars North America. At Chevy, Mahoney helped to lead initiatives like the brand's "Find New Roads" marketing platform, per Ad Age.
- Mahoney's retirement comes as GM is reducing its headcount by 15% as part of a broader cost-cutting plan, according to Ad Age.
Mahoney has earned high praise during his tenure at Chevy, being named Forbes' third most influential CMO in the world, according to MediaPost. In his five-year run, the executive proved adept at maneuvering increasingly key fields like digital. His retirement will see a high-profile marketer leaving the auto industry as the category broadly traverses some rocky roads.
Chevy parent company GM has recently weathered criticisms, including from President Trump, for its decision to trim 14,700 jobs and halt production at five North American plants, The Guardian reported. But GM's key competitors have similarly tightened their belts this year amid struggles with model types like sedans, with cuts often impacting marketing.
Ford in April said it would stop selling sedans in North America with the exception of the Mustang and a new offering called the Focus Active. The automaker at the same time increased its cost-cutting goal to $25.5 billion — nearly double the $14 billion target announced in October 2017 — with about half of those cuts projected to impact sales and marketing. Toyota in June said it also planned to slash marketing and sales costs and instead shift those resources into research and innovation, per Reuters.
The auto industry's trimming of marketing departments and spending could portend a broader slowdown in growth for the ad industry heading into an uncertain 2019. WPP's GroupM agency recently downgraded its forecasts due to headwinds affecting sectors like packaged goods and automotive, lowering its prediction to 3.6% growth from the prior 3.9%.
Chevy has undertaken some interesting marketing tactics of late. Six of the brand's models that are being phased out by the end of next year — the Cruze, Volt, Impala, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS and Cadillac CT6 — saw quadruple the amount of ad investments in Q2 2018 versus the prior quarter, according to a MediaRadar report shared with Marketing Dive.
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