General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl has elected to retire and will be transitioning out of the role through March 31, according to media reports. The company will conduct an external search for a new CMO, per a statement shared with Ad Age.
Wahl was appointed to the role in September 2019 after a stint as CMO of GM brand Cadillac, three years as CMO of McDonald's USA and previous marketing positions with automakers Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda and Ford. At the time, GM CEO Mary Barra said Wahl's appointment to the position — which had been vacant since 2012 — would help transform GM's marketing organization, aligning marketing across the company and building stronger brands while "ensuring more effective, efficient and agile customer engagement."
Along with helping GM navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Wahl has helped lead GM's move toward an all-electric future. In January 2021, the company announced plans to invest $27 billion in electric vehicle (EV) products through 2025, with a goal of launching 30 offerings over the period.
The related "Everybody In" marketing push featured the most significant refresh to its logo in more than five decades, a wide-ranging ad campaign featuring leaders in several fields and more. Earlier this year, GM partnered with Netflix for a multi-part alliance around EVs.
The Netflix team-up including a co-branded 60-second Super Bowl ad featuring Will Ferrell, who also starred in GM's big game spot in 2021. Under Wahl's leadership, GM and its brands had made splashy, nostalgia-heavy plays at the Super Bowl around its EV ambitions. Cadillac in 2021 promoted its Lyriq EV with an "Edward Scissorhands" revival starring Timothee Chalamet, while Chevrolet in 2022 remade "The Sopranos" to boost its all-electric Chevy Silverado.
Despite record earnings in 2022, GM has announced a plan to cut $2 billion in costs over the next two years and has begun job cuts and buyouts.